November 29, 2022
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Matt Dawson: Politics of Kindness

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Our political system has become too divided and toxic.

This turns off voters, pushes away good people that may otherwise run for office, and leaves positions susceptible to being bought and paid for by corporations, lobbyists and PACs.

In a Dec. 2021 poll from USA today, over 70% of Americans polled said our political division was a major issue they were concerned about.

We have tools to address and combat these partisan times. We can choose to eschew “politics as usual” and seek out candidates dedicated to bridging divides and uniting our community. We can take a stand and fight for respect, empathy, understanding, and kindness in our politics. Most of us were taught growing up; “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which is to say – offer others the understanding and kindness you would like in turn.

I want to bring that into our political system. I know some of you are reading this and rolling your eyes, or maybe just thinking how naive I sound. And you’re right (to an extent), this is idealistic, but here’s the kicker – it’s achievable if enough of us try.

If I disagree with someone on a political issue, I don’t need to attack them. I don’t need to tear others down to build myself up. If my argument can’t stand without doing that, it wasn’t strong to begin with. If I’m being honest, this was a big reason for me running for office in 2020 and remains so now. I am tired of us being divided because it only serves to weaken us long term. Political campaigns come in, spreading hate and division in the form of attack ads and empty promises, then leave. In their wake is a pool of toxicity that the community has to live with and find a way to move through. We don’t have to be okay with this.

I know it isn’t a fun national talking point, but I think it is worth fighting for. Most of us have similar goals. We want our communities to be safe. We want our children to get a good education. We want workers to be paid fairly. We want everyone to have a roof over their head and food on the table. We want to be able to get to payday with a positive balance in our checking account. Somehow our two party system and dirty money has convinced us that we don’t agree on those things.

So, no matter who you vote for, remember to love your neighbor regardless of who they support. Show them the understanding and kindness you would want in return, no matter what you think their beliefs are – because they may be thinking the same about you. Let’s get away from assuming the character of people, candidates or otherwise, and instead focus on building relationships and extending olive branches.

We have the power to bring civility and kindness to our politics, so why not use it?

Democrat Matt Dawson is running for Michigan’s 95th State House District.

 



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