As promised in this week's Scholarly Tabloid, I present a special edition of “Southern Discomfort.”

Before you flood my inbox with hatemail, allow me to build for you a bridge over the troubled water of wrongs of which my title refers. This week’s editorial is aimed particularly at individuals within the opposing parties that are so blinded by their rage of the opposition that their arguments often degenerate to a five-year-old tattling over who did wrong first and who committed the most grievous of numerous mistakes.

First, understand that the designation of who is right and wrong actually is interchangeable between the parties. Second, like any good title fight, I’ll introduce the combatants in more detail. On the Right, we have those in particular who categorize the left-wing (as if to say all leftists think and act alike) as a group of melodramatic, unpatriotic, intellectually-superior atheists. On the Left, we have those specifically who categorize the right-wing (as if to say they are all part of a vast conspiracy) as a gang of bible-thumping, gun-toting, morally-superior zealots. Granted, these generalizations exist, at least in part, to the existence of individuals who may actually meet some of the adjectives above. The caveat is that to say that everyone of either side of the political structure thinks according to a specific rubric is to deny faith in rational, independent thought. It is denying the possibility of any middle ground.

Certainly there exists a rational outcry against the concept of “straddling the fence.” Unfortunately, such an objection is used to bait people in hastily confirming or disaffirming concepts that they may not have fully understood. If peer pressure is thought of to be an influential aspect of grammar school, imagine how great of an impact a society of political bullying that convinces many that it’s better to join the masses of an umbrella party than to consider what they stand for and what about each party they may not agree with. Another popular exit strategy to introspection on one’s political stances is the timelessness of apathy. Sadly, we often only see politics as the choice between apathy and bilateral conformity. The sight of such malaise is corrosive to the advancement of intellect.

Though some reactionary or revolutionary party members may expect a plug here, such is not the intention of this piece. The reality is that no matter what decision we make in our political affiliation, the choice should be based on far more than the fallacious rhetoric of jaded party sycophants and the bias found on news programs and editorial tabloids (including this one). My point is not for you to choose one party or ideology over another; the point is for you to know why you make that choice and understand that others may have equally complex paths to making their choice as well. There is a place for social discourse between people of opposing political backgrounds. It begins when the yelling ends and discussion begins. Robert Frost wrote, “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing one’s temper or self-confidence.” So lift a glass and continue to think for yourself. Here’s to truly becoming educated.

For more of The Scholarly Tabloid, check out the archives