Better understanding of others comes through knowledge

The midterm elections are over, finally, and now we can return to our normal routines. Or can we? I have witnessed friendships terminated merely due to political disagreements. When I wear my Trump2020 hat, people call me names (just not to my face). Have we forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable?

Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” Today, President Lincoln would be excoriated by special-interest groups for using the noun “man” instead of “person.” I will acquiesce and say, “I do not like those people. I must get to know them better.”

In an age where all forms of media provide us an efficient means to expand, or contract, our circles of friends, we seem to struggle or misuse these resources.

Prior to Election Day, Pete Davidson, a comedian on the TV show “Saturday Night Live,” mocked the war wounds of retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican congressional candidate in Texas. Crenshaw is a Navy SEAL and lost his right eye in Afghanistan during his third combat tour. There was an outcry regarding this skit from all colors of the political prism.

Instead of getting angry and retaliating against a lesser man, Crenshaw told the media there were more important things than what a comedian said about him. There were. He won on Election Day.

The previous week’s controversy resulted in Congressman-elect Crenshaw’s appearance on the next episode of SNL. Davidson apologized for the previous week’s remarks and Crenshaw was graceful with his response. During his “opposing-view” monologue, Crenshaw thanked Davidson for making a Republican look good and teased him about his resemblance to Martin Short, a former SNL cast member, who was “actually good on SNL.”

Both men were good sports with their playful banter and I could see a lifelong friendship being formed.

Crenshaw then told the audience that Davidson’s father had perished during the 9/11 attacks. Both men were solemnly united as they closed their skit on that Veterans Day weekend with the phrases, “Thank you for your service” and “Never forget.”

I did not know either man beforehand; I like both of them now.

There are additional media venues where we can get to know our fellow citizens better.

Reporters will often interview the “man (person) on the street” to get a human perspective about an event, such as a violent crime or a horrific vehicle collision. This adds a personal touch to the story and helps the reporter with the word count. But I want to know more. What does that “person on the street” do, or not do, for a living? It would be nice to know if the interviewee is a retired school teacher, an unemployed wrestler or a basement-dwelling gamer. This is not to judge one’s station in life, but the information would add credibility, or the lack thereof, to their “man on the street” perspective.

Many of us were not happy with the midterm elections. If the candidate I vote for loses, I want him or her to lose fairly.

I cannot understand why there seemed to be so many Democrat votes, especially after the polls closed on Election Day. I understand absentee ballots and “provisional” ballots, but why do they always favor the Democrat candidate?

Henceforth, I would like to get to know these folks better. What better way to correctly identify each voter than learning their names via a photo ID card with a fingerprint, similar to what they use in Mexico. Every vote counts and counts only once. Who would be opposed to this method of knowing our fellow voters better and providing a more efficient means of counting votes on Election Day and the weeks thereafter?

The Christmas holidays provide us with a break, albeit a short one, from the rancorous election cycles.

A good New Year’s resolution for 2019 might be getting to know each other better. This could lead to a better understanding of each other and encourage friendlier dialogue.

Christmas is the season of new beginnings and provides many occasions for forgiveness. If you have forgotten the reason for the season, perhaps you could get to know the story of the baby Jesus.

In closing, I wish everyone a merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and may God continue to bless America.

Dan Jennings is retired BCPD police lieutenant and a retired Army captain. He can reached at

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