So what do you do when a family member or friend says they hate someone you think is doing a reasonable job? How can there be any basis for rational discussion with someone who expresses hatred. Can a friendship continue if your friend hates something or someone that you have positive feelings for? How do you deal with a family member who holds the view that a particular politician has absolutely no redeeming traits?
Increasingly too, politicians seem to be trying to polarise their audience. This is playing out right now in the US presidential campaign, and we’ve certainly seen it with the two major parties in Australia over the past few years.
When I see an example of a politician taking an inclusive approach I can only applaud it. And that’s what I saw in this video of Barack Obama. He was heckled by someone in the audience behind him, and you could almost see him turning over the two options he had to deal with the loud interjection.
- Have security eject him, and then use the incident as a spring-board for criticising the man, his tactics and his views, or
- Reach out to the heckler and his supporters, explain the constraints he (Obama) was under and ask them to help solve the problem.
I was delighted to see Obama wave away security and take option 2.
So next time you’re listening to politicians, ask yourself if they are being inclusive or divisive. Are they bringing people together or driving a wedge between them?