Opinion: To be unified does not mean beliefs need to be uniform

Clark County Today Administrator Heidi Wetzler shares her thoughts on the performance of our elected officials and the current political and social climate in the United States

Heidi Wetzler
Heidi Wetzler

I watched a video recently where the host was reading some of the items on our new presidential administration’s agenda and was asking if the interviewees believed the policies and actions were good ones. Each time those being interviewed were gung-ho about the ideas they heard and fully supported the policies the new leaders were proposing. Except there was a twist. After the participants pledged their full support of the great sounding ideas – the host announced that the achievements were actually already accomplished by the previous administration. Of course the participants were surprised. How were these people so easily misled? It’s not hard to understand why.  It stems from witnessing and participating in an insatiable hunger for power.

There are too many leaders in this country who have fallen victim to the dishonorable side of the quest for power at any cost. Truth, peace, kindness and more are sacrificed on the altar of power routinely. Collaboration, logical thinking, compromise and believing the best of one’s colleagues are rarely valued. The noble art of humility is lost.

In a marriage it is often suggested that the goal is to enjoy a 50/50 partnership. But anyone who has experienced a truly rewarding marriage, I’m sure would agree, that the recipe for that sweetness is when each partner decides to give more than their even share. The gratitude one feels for their partner’s willingness to step across that imaginary line is powerful. And the recipient is changed. When each partner decides to give 0, and decides their partner needs to give 100, where does that leave their relationship?  Irreconcilably broken. We see it all the time.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Today, we have leaders who strive to hold 100 percent of the power. Any route taken to achieve this is apparently acceptable. It means you must never acknowledge the accomplishments of your adversaries. You wish for their demise. You work tirelessly for their failure. You don’t let them speak. You don’t let them explain. You don’t listen, really listen, to their ideas. You convince yourself that lying is perfectly fine as long as it gets you closer to your end goal, which is power. Precious power. And then as power goes back and forth from administration to administration, policies are promoted and repealed, swinging left and swinging right, instead of what could be a better option for the citizens of this country – moving forward with healthy compromise, together. What are some of the first lessons we teach our children if we want them to grow into adults with good character? We teach them to share. We teach them to be honest. We teach them to compromise. We teach them that it is honorable to sacrifice and consider the feelings of others, instead of always putting themselves first. Why do we expect so much more of children than the leaders of our country?

If your source of news never reports on the positive accomplishments of the sitting president, a false narrative is taking place. If you believe that the sitting president doesn’t HAVE any positive accomplishments, a false narrative is taking place. If your source of news aligns itself with a political party, a dangerous season is upon us. If reporters ask one president tough questions and ask another president if he is going to change the decorative colors of Air Force One, we should all be very scared. The job of a free media is to protect its citizens by holding government accountable. Wake up people.  Heaven forbid a nation hears all of the facts and begins to think for themselves. That would be too dangerous and obstruct the seemingly honorable quest for power. For anyone that knows me, my support of unbiased reporting is repetitive, I know. But critically important, nonetheless. The reason the participants in the aforementioned exercise were unaware of presidential accomplishments, was because their news sources chose to withhold reporting on them. And their realm of influence chose ignorance and blinded hate instead. And now I see it happening in reverse.

While it is tempting for many to seek revenge and respond to the very loud #notmypresident anthem we’ve heard the last four years in kind, it is not what should be done. Success for our country is standing behind our president, no matter if you voted for him or her or not. If you believe otherwise, blame your leaders. Blame the news anchors. Calls for unity should exist whether your party is in a position of power or not. Otherwise, the sentiment is wholly empty. To unify means to become whole. It does not mean that beliefs need to be uniform. How many of us are capable of looking at ourselves introspectively? And how many are able to use the same measuring stick with which we use to measure others, and turn it on ourselves? Hypocrisy runs rampant today.  Self-righteousness is blinding.

Working towards the annihilation of opposing ideas is scary. Who wants to live in a country with one political party? Take a visit to Cuba, China, or North Korea if you’re unsure what that looks like.  Welcoming competing ideas is healthy. I would love to be able to be inspired by leaders that believe in that truth. In my opinion, today, many people are inspired by the wrong attributes. Conformity of thought is relished. The desire to win is consuming. Power is the ONLY goal. If you are a congressional representative and step out of your party lines to vote with your independent mind, you are a traitor.  Your career as a representative is on its way to being over. We are being led to march in single file lines like kindergartners, and threatened with discipline if we step out of that line. Or in today’s terms, unacceptable ideas are censored off of social media platforms. In America, freedom of speech was bought with the blood of our ancestors. What a terrible, sad waste of those lives. What I wouldn’t give to go back 10 years before any of these platforms existed.  Raise your hand if you think your life is better today than it was 10 years ago. Raise your hand if you think the power of your keyboard is good for your character. Raise your hand if you are inspired to be better by watching CNN or FOX news – or if you are only inspired to get angry – and hate.

Hate breeds hate and we as a population are succeeding at it. We are told and shown that it is OK to hate if you are right. It is OK to scream and spit in others faces as long as you are right. Having tolerance of the ideas in only your own echo chamber is not tolerance. Most people are completely incapable of looking at issues from a new point of view. Ask yourself if you are able to have your opinion on an issue and be humble enough to believe your neighbors opinion should be given equal weight. If not, the education system has failed you. Your leaders have failed you.  Being able to critically think about ideas used to be considered the goal of education. The shift has been subtle. And the consequences may well be irreversible.