They’re fierce opponents on opposite sides of the aisle. But two Congressmen put politics aside and did their own version of Carpool Karaoke by sharing a 1,600 mile drive from Texas to Washington, DC to arrive in time for an important vote.
Reps. Beto O’Rourke (D) and Will Hurd (R) live-streamed their trip and people tuning in loved it. Can’t their budding bromance become a model for other opposing members of Congress? Can’t it influence how we collaborate with people we work with, doing what’s right for our company even if we personally don’t agree? Can’t we discuss our points of view with people without the conversation dissolving into a screaming match?
The Ride That Went Viral
Rep. O’Rourke suggested they share the driving when their flights to DC were weather delayed and then cancelled. It was a little awkward at first. But soon they were singing “We’re the best of friends” along with Willie Nelson.
Cooped up together what choice did they have but to lower their defenses and begin to connect with each other? At the end of their arduous trip in a rented 1999 Chevy Impala they toasted each other with donuts: “Cheers Buddy.” Here they are in a video they made with a smart phone on the dashboard:
Can’t We Just Talk?
Their trip lifted my spirits. It showed that people with opposing points of view can find common ground. I’m not alone in being dismayed by the partisan bickering in Congress that’s spilled over into so many friendships and family relationships.
Just recently, I noticed that I wasn’t seeing the Facebook posts of my nephew’s wife, who is conservative. I discovered she had unfriended me. Yet just a little more than a month ago I sat next to her and my nephew at a family wedding. We cautiously didn’t discuss politics and, after a little awkwardness, found common ground in other subjects. We had a good time.
How has it come to the point where we can’t discuss current affairs even with our closest friends and relatives? I did a little research and different sources suggested that a primary reason is that we become angry when our point of view isn’t acknowledged. We start raising our voices, because we want to be heard. But are we acknowledging the other person’s right to his or her point of view? I think we’ve cemented our views to the point where there is no room for discussion.
It didn’t used to be this way. Congressmen from different parties were friends after “work.” They dined together, and even shared living accommodations. That’s all changed and politicians are barely civil to their opponents.
I personally can’t remember a time when our differences were so polarizing that family members stopped speaking and friendships wilted. I don’t want that to happen. So I’m going to open my mind and heart to other points of view. I don’t have to agree, but I do need to listen.