Reverse the divisiveness

To the editor,

A recent solicitation letter from Sen. Cory Gardner closed with these words: “Help me fight back against the radical liberal hoards (sic) that is descending on Colorado ... to defend the radical liberal policies, socialist programs and restrictions to our constitutional rights ... .”

Does he truly believe that Coloradans are under attack? Probably not. More likely he believes what his campaign and party leaders are advising based on research of what fires up potential Republican voters. Just like the Democrat candidates who rely on polls, surveys and focus groups to craft messaging that pushes the buttons of potential “blue” voters.

Campaign marketing is all about eliciting emotional responses – the stronger the response, the greater the impact on our decision-making. Fear, blame, resentment, anger and even hope are the most potent triggers.

We’re being played. And the sad result is that we’re getting pulled further and further apart, divided into partisan tribes ruled by emotions over reason. We’ve evolved into a society that has normalized lying, shaming, bullying, yelling, humiliating and attacking others.

I wonder how, as a society, we reverse the divisiveness. Is it possible to get back to treating others like we want to be treated, recognizing and respecting differences, striving to find common ground, and agreeing to disagree respectfully when we don’t? Can we influence elected officials, the media, celebrities, athletes and other public figures to be positive role models for our children? How do we encourage and reward acceptance, tolerance, kindness and respect?

Do you think it’s doable?

– Greg Phillips, Durango