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The Times
  • Kent Bush: The other guys aren't always wrong

  • You can survive political season and still actually like your friends if you are willing to understand that they actually mean well when they are mindlessly repost garbage and spout opinions based on ignorance and fueled by deception.

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  • I know you hate social media right now.
    We all do.
    You can't even find out how fast people ran 4.2 miles or what they had for dinner because your news feed is filled with page after page of the same propaganda posts.
    But you can survive political season and still actually like your friends if you are willing to understand that they actually mean well when they are mindlessly repost garbage and spout opinions based on ignorance and fueled by deception.
    I don't care who your friends are or whether they prefer this week's convention or last week's. The world has an endless supply of ignorance, and politics creates plenty of demand for our only limitless commodity.
    What most of you don't realize is that you bring such a bias into every argument that, even when presented with a pile of evidence, you will not disavow incorrect opinions.
    Your ideology not only informs your opinions, but it controls your perception of facts.
    When Michelle Obama took to the stage to deliver her speech Tuesday night, I knew she was in a minefield. The Democrats heard the truth from on high, and Republicans heard lies from the pit of hell.
    When she said, "The presidency doesn't change you, it reveals who you really are," I knew for a fact that people who like her husband would think of what a fine man he is leading the nation through a tough economic time while trying to move the country forward.
    People who don't like Barack Obama as much agreed with her, too. It wasn't long until a silly photo of Obama playing golf was the background for one of those wonderful quote photos that circulates through Twitter and Facebook because people think it expresses exactly what they feel.
    The people who repost everything are the same ones who think their significant other is impressed by the poem on the inside of the Hallmark card.
    After Mrs. Obama's speech, a few of my friends had things to say. I thought a collection of them would be illustrative of my point.
    Rick Wilson, a staunch Republican media strategist, looked beyond his GOP-red-colored glasses and called her speech "very solid" on Twitter. His fingers had to sting while typing it, but he did manage to hit send.
    Closer to home, other friends on Facebook said things like, "I think she deserves a Golden Globe Award! Wow! That was some good acting! Maybe even an Oscar!" and "My God shut that woman up so I can watch the weather and go to bed! Some of us have a job - for now anyway."
    On Twitter, the mediarati did nothing to overcome the "in the tank for Obama" meme the right-wing pundits profess when NBC's Chuck Todd - whose goatee has its own Twitter account - tweeted, "From my floor vantage point: Michelle Obama owned this convention in a way I didn't see anyone own Tampa. She is clearly personally beloved." And CNN's Anderson Cooper tweeted, "I've never heard such a well delivered speech by a first lady ever."
    Page 2 of 2 - Conservative carnival barker Mark Levin played the same song with a different tune in his tweet: "Watching these two party conventions makes one thing clear. We conservatives long for a leader. The liberals long for a dictator."
    What you have to remember is that these people are all watching the same events.
    I wish people were self-aware enough to see their own prejudices and understand that Republicans aren't being won over by Democratic rhetoric any more than Obama fans were won over by the GOP convention last week.
    You don't have to hate someone because their worldview was colored by a different set of experiences than yours. Perhaps if you would take the first step and have a discussion about the facts being proposed and not the parties and personalities involved, we could enjoy a political discussion that could resolve problems.
    Remember, the other guys aren't always wrong - whoever the other guys are.
    Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.
     
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