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I have watched with dismay how the "us and them" politically-based schism in the US appears to have leapt virally into every facet of society. How intolerance is rife, and everyone seems to think they're entitled to emulate the president-elect's lack of personal respect, dignity and decorum and post scathing comments attacking people they don't really know.

It has all the emotional intelligence of the bullies section of kindergarten. Seriously, it is NOT okay to hate someone who holds a different political belief.

It is NOT okay to belittle someone, or be mean and nasty to them, or call them names - all because they don't support your point of view on climate change, or gay rights, or even medical costs.

If you're not with us, you're against us. Really? If you're not for Trump (or violently opposed to Trump - depending on who you talk to) you're not for America? What a crazy notion for a democratic country to hold!

If there is no freedom of thought and no choice, I guess democracy is lost.

If there is no respect for the individual or empathy and compassion, I guess divided we shall surely fall.

Name-calling and public humiliation is NOT something to be proud of. You might get a quick hit of dopamine satisfaction and stoke the fires of your ego. But who do you turn to for love and nurture, or even companionship, when you've peeved off everyone who holds a different point of view on just about everything?

I recently reposted a link to an online petition to save NZ's water resources from foreign exploitation. Someone posted a politically motivated response, suggesting we look at a desalination plant from Palestine as we had supported the "interlopers".

So here I am, exercising my right to influence a government decision, and some stranger feels entitled to assume that I support the NZ government's choices - and that gives me no right to protest about domestic water issues or anything else for that matter.

This is the sort of crazy disconnect that seems to be proliferating comments right now.

I played no part in the NZ government decision - but posting from NZ makes me a target. Really?

Because I am guilty of living in a country whose government made a decision this person does not approve of, I am suddenly a political enemy, and my opinion is, therefore, worthless and open to ridicule - and I have no basic rights in this person's eyes.

Get a grip. This sort of scenario is playing out all the time between Trumpers and non-Trumpers - and increasingly globally on any sensitive issue.

Stop and think for a minute: Nobody has ever changed anyone's opinion by showing disrespect and calling them names. That just encourages people to draw a line deeper in the sand and fight harder for their point of view.

It is going to be a very "divided we shall fall" case for society if we keep attacking people - humans just like you.

How about we start with tolerance and talking, rather than name calling and fighting? Life is not a war, and it's not a win-at-all-costs situation. And life is not a stage for bullies to impose their choices or presumptions on those who are more meek and mild-mannered.

Life is about finding a win-win solution of compassion, tolerance, getting along and playing nicely together. If you get that right, you might even find joy, rather than the bile-tasting self-righteous indignation you might have in response to a world made up of fools who think differently from you.

Could we stop the intolerance, the assumptions, and the aggressive name calling, please? Could we stop picking fights over internal or external politics - most of which is outside any one individual's control? Could we put aside the mob mentality and try to, at least, tolerate each other - or better yet, find a way to work together in harmony.


Houston: You do have a problem, and it is bigger than you think!


P.S. This is my opinion. I've learnt to hold my opinions lightly. You are welcome to express yours (respectfully) in the comments below. It is through discussion that we learn and grow.

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