Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand

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I have heard it said dozens of times in the last few years that America is more divided now than it has been since the Civil War in the 1860s. There are many reasons for such a claim: Some want socialism, others want to continue in a capitalist society. Some say that children should be able to decide what it is they are exactly, while others believe that a girl born a girl is a girl and a boy born a boy is exactly that. Some think that carbon footprints will be our end within a dozen years, while others think that climate change is a misnomer, as the climate has always been in a pendulum swing of change.

But the divide seems to go even deeper than opposing ideologies or beliefs. Rather, it has been the inability to live within that tension.

A few years ago, we had a gentleman visit our home to discuss refinancing our mortgage. Sitting around the dining table, there was the initial small talk, and the notary began to make comments to immediately show that he was a card-carrying liberal. For whatever reason, perhaps because of our age and demograph, my husband and I are often mistaken for liberals, so we just smiled and continued chatting. At some point, our friend started to talk about how “there should be a law” against something that was already a constitutional right. To his prescription, my husband simply replied, “Well, then you do it the right way, and amend the Constitution.” It instantly became clear to the gentleman that his assumption about us being fellow liberals was incorrect, and he began to fumble apologies: “Oh, are you guys conservatives? Wow. I’m so sorry. I had no idea. Do you need me to leave now? I’m sorry if I offended you…”

We laughingly asked, “Why would you need to leave? We’re adults here. You are allowed to have your own opinion. We don’t expect everyone who sits at our table to think exactly as we do.” Our answer seemed to be both stunning and pleasantly surprising to him. It was as if he were looking at rare birds – particularly, the kind that talk. Apparently in the midst of our conversation, he also gathered we were Christians and was gobsmacked: “You’re Christians, too? You do realize that you are in the most unchurched area of the US, right? I mean…what are you doing here?”

We replied, “We can still be Christians wherever we go. We don’t need to constantly surround ourselves with those who believe exactly as we do to feel safe or validated.”Again, the concept seemed to be foreign to him.

Then the strangest thing happened. He began to tell us how disillusioned he was with his progressive friends, saying that the rigidity of who they would associate with was becoming unbearable. He described attending a Mariner’s game with a good friend who was becoming increasingly frustrated with him: “You know what your problem is, Dave? It’s that you believe x, y, and z, but you still haven’t signed onto a, b, and c. It has really caused me to rethink our friendship!” The level of intolerance was astounding, considering that The Left claims to be the bastion of tolerance.

Our friend left that night smiling and thanking us for cheerful conversation. And it wasn’t because we agreed with him or vice-versa. It was because he was received in our home as a person who was worthy of dignity and kindness, regardless of who he normally votes for.

Dr. Karyln Borysenko, formally a life-long democrat and reknown psychologist, decided to attend a local Trump rally in New Hampshire. Before going, a fellow liberal offered to give her pepper spray, as she began to talk about how horrible and Nazi-like Trump supporters were and feared for her safety. This was nothing new, of course, as her concern matched the general stigma that had been attached to conservatives for the last few years. Dr. Borysenko’s first surprise was when she was standing in line to enter the rally and had engaged a few others in line with her, where she revealed that she was a democrat. Their response to this was not what she expected, as they greeted her with, “Oh, we’re so glad you’re here! Welcome!” This certainly did not line up with what she had been told about conservatives or republicans in the past – and even by her friend who had earlier offered her pepper spray. Since then, Dr. Borysenko has been bashed by The Left and has even lost clients for her political shift.

But have we as a society shifted so much in our ideology in the last several years? I submit that to a degree, we haven’t. There have always been the proponents of “life” and “choice,” and vehemently so. There have always been the champions of capitalism versus socialism. The ideologies that have existed for decades could not be more diametrically opposed.

There is a saying that goes, “it always comes out in the wash.” I’m not sure who said it, but I think what is meant by that is the true colors of a person, organization, or platform always comes to the surface. And what we are seeing with conservatism (and libertarianism) compared with what has become full-on progressivism is this willingness to live within the tension and abide the reality of differences. It’s the ability to understand that not everyone is going to think or see things the same way.

With conservatism, however, it goes beyond that. Conservatism sees an inherent value in people – even if we believe they are wrong – even dead wrong. It sees the right for people to hold their opinions, thoughts, and traditions – even if they are different from our own. It sees the value of relationships with those we love, even if we sorely disagree. Ultimately, it sees that all people – all – are made in the image of Almighty God. And regardless of what political views they hold, that alone gives them value to be respected and seen as more than the person they vote for.

So, welcome to Conservative Ladies of Washington. Even if you are not a conservative or aren’t even sure where you stand at this moment, come and see what we are about. We welcome you to the discussion, and we celebrate that you and all human life are of great value.

Conservative Ladies of Washington

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