When left and right unite

Have you noticed, or is it just me, levels of hate, anger and discontent have risen in recent times, and this seems to be a world wide phenomenon? One of my mantras since I embarked on my community activism around the turn of the millennium has been to work with all and sundry for the common good, along with a realisation that people do think differently and it is good to give and take and be kind and patient. I am pleased that those I associate and am even friends with come from all quarters of society and across the political spectrum. And yet I have found more recently, partly I think because I have posted unpalatable to some views (e.g. re. Brexit, Trump and the so called Alt Right) some, particularly from the left, have distanced themselves from me. I am grateful though to those who accept our differences and recognize the working for the common good principle is a good one for us to unite on.

I got thinking along these lines when a friend posted on his Facebook page a link to an article titled: “New Labour MP says she will not ‘hang out’ with Conservative women because they are the ‘enemy”, and this was followed by a lively discussion with varying viewpoints on display. The article begins: “A new Labour MP has said she will never be friends with a Conservative, and will not “hang out” with Tory women as she considers them “the enemy”. Laura Pidcock told Refinery29 that she wouldn’t “hang out with Tory women” who are “no friends of mine” and “an enemy to lots of women”. The MP was criticised for her comments by Nadine Dorries MP, who tweeted: “She will make a great MP. How can she fail with her politics of hate and such a hands over the ears juvenile attitude”. New Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch said she disagreed with Ms Pidcock’s comments, saying she was friends with Labour politicians and would be keen to be friends and work with female Labour MPs.

I do find the Labour MP’s remarks regrettable, for I would much rather want to encourage a coming together, despite our differences. I recognize there may be genuine disagreements and sometimes ideologies that differ from our own are particularly unpalatable, especially when linked to hypocrisy and actions detrimental to the common good, but at least imho an effort ought to be made to try and understand and even cooperate. I often think of the great respect shown by two politicians seen as extremes on opposite ends of the political divide, to each other: Tony Benn and Enoch Powell, and I have just learned that same spirit existed between Benn and my own former MP, Teddy Taylor. It seems to me that once we get beyond ideology into practicality, whatever our opinions happen to be, there is a lot that could / ought to be done to help people lead better lives, based on the strength in unity principle. Moreover, as I increasingly discover, if only we can put ourselves on the shoes of the person we disagree with, we would see things a whole lot differently and may even concede we might agree more if we did.

As I look around me, I sense as a country we are in dire straits and have lost our way. Many share with me a lack of confidence in our political leaders, left and right, even though we seen much potential, with some of it being realized by the common people doing amazing stuff. While I agree with one friend that, to quote Dickens, “we live in the best of times and the worst of times”, I can’t help feeling we need something veering toward catastrophic to change the malaise I feel right now. As for me, I won’t shut up commentating on the culture and rattling cages, because I believe people need waking up, but more important than that I will continue to preach the gospel (see here) because people need to be saved. Given part of that gospel message is to love one another, I will try by God’s grace to work with folk to make the world a better place, whether: old or young, rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight, Christian, Muslim or atheist, and of course left or right, and in the process of “hanging out” I may even end up making friends with some of them.

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