Bethlehem Press

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Politics: It's OK to disagree Politics: It's OK to disagree

Politics: It's OK to disagree

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 by The Press in Opinion

"Get ready."

"Get set."


I sat back in my patio chair and prepared to watch a war staged between two little boys, my son and his look alike best friend. A friend he had had since 3-year-old preschool. The one who he had such a symbiotic relationship with it often seemed like they were two parts of a whole.

And, yet, I was sitting back and letting them fight.

Each little boy had a stack of water balloons piled next to him, water balloons that had been painstakingly and with much laughter filled till nearly exploding – which a few unfortunates mistakenly did – and carried with much care to the backyard, where I had agreed to referee. The water balloon war. I was going to make sure there was no unnecessary roughness. No insults. And, of course, that no one got hurt.

The first balloon fired off zinged from one side of the lawn to the other, missing its intended mark but smashing into a tree. The two boys paused for a moment in their intended volley and laughed before hurling two more balloons simultaneously. This time, as luck would have it, both balloons hit their marks.

Surprise registered on each boys' face. Each looked shocked that he indeed had been hit. But, that moment of hesitation evaporated in the hot summer sun as both boys checked their arsenal and prepared to toss again. This time one got hit and one didn't.

Back and forth they gleefully went, tossing balloon after balloon, until all the balloons were gone. They both looked equally disappointed when their water balloon war came to a halt.

As quickly as it had started, the war was over and the two boys were clamoring for ice pops. It was as if they had never been on opposing sides or a skirmish had never taken place. They sat with their brown haired heads nearly touching, eating ice pops and discussing their next adventure.

I keep that snapshot of summer fun in my memories and revisit it every now and again.

My most recent recollection of how the two boys would agree to disagree made me think of the upcoming political conventions, and the election which soon follow. The real campaigning has not even begun to take place and already friends who are on opposite sides of the electoral campaign are heard flinging insults at each other or posting harsh invectives toward one another via social media sites.

What a shame.

Once the election is over people will have the same family members and the same co-workers and the same friends. For this reason, it is important to avoid personal attacks or slinging some derogatory comeback when you do not agree with another person's political views. It is fine to disagree but do not make the response to the disagreement a personal attack. It's not necessary and it certainly isn't nice.

Agree that it is entirely acceptable to disagree. Just as two small boys were able and willing to do.

Have the grace to use good political conventions when discussing politics.