Sarah Stultz: That feeling of unity is quickly slipping

Published 8:27 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


It’s interesting to see how things have shifted. When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, it seemed for a moment that we were experiencing the country coming together as we moved into uncharted territory. Politics, which were front and center beforehand, shifted into the background and people seemed to get along better.

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In my lifetime, the only time I’ve witnessed something similar was after 9/11 when I was a senior in high school.

People put aside their ideologies and their preferences for political candidates and came together as Americans who had all witnessed something horrific within our own nation’s borders. It didn’t matter the color of your skin, how much money was in your bank account, who you voted for in the last election or if you grew up in a big city or in rural America.

It was a reminder that in that time of heartache and trouble, we lived in an amazing country with amazing people.

No, it did not mean that everyone everyone had the same opinions or that everyone saw eye to eye on issues, but people set aside their differences for the overall good.

I thought some of those feelings of unity were returning in the last few months, but things have changed and I can hardly stomach scrolling through my Facebook page these days. If turmoil of some of the people on my Facebook feed is any indication of how things are all over the country, it’s not headed in a good direction.

Why do people have to be rude and hurtful to people who think differently than them when they’re stating their opinions?

It has gotten to the point that I have contemplated and followed through with snoozing a few people — essentially hiding their posts for 30 days — not because I disagree with their opinions, but because they are being extreme and unkind in how they present those opinions. (And then the comments underneath those posts get even worse!)

Just to be clear, there have been a few friends from both sides of the political spectrum I have felt this way about, not just one side.

Let’s also be clear, I am grateful for the opportunity we have in this country to have and share differing opinions, but I sure do wish it could be done with a little more respect.

It’s good to hear all sorts of opinions, and I have always appreciated being able to hear well-researched discussion from both sides. Just when you think you agree with one viewpoint, then valid ideas from a differing viewpoint are shared and it opens up the possibilities.

But why does there have to be name-calling and personal attacks behind it though?

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.