The last several weeks have been interesting ones in terms of national politics. The effort to appoint a U.S. Supreme Court justice has created a level of divisiveness that breaks my heart a little.

I respect that everyone has an opinion. I respect that everyone has a right to voice those opinions. I just wish that we all expressed those opinions with a little more effort to understand the other side. 

I’ve heard a lot of comments about political motivations. I cannot argue that there are some purely motivated by the opportunity to defeat the “other” team. But, I’ve also heard a lot of other comments that aren’t as fair.

For example:

• She should’ve reported this years ago. 

• She doesn’t remember the details. If she were telling the truth, she’d remember.

• She just wants to be famous.

In response to those, I can only say could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. The trauma sexual assault victims go through cannot be imagined. Could victims report the crimes? Yes. Should they? That’s not up to us. Would you have? You will never know until you’re in that situation. Even then, you’ll likely be unsure of yourself due to the chaos of emotions you’re feeling.

The reasons for reporting an assault, or not, vary. The cause for fuzzy details has been shown via science. The idea that ANY woman wants to be famous for being assaulted seems slightly absurd considering the woman in question has had to hire security for her family and relocate.

But, unfair statements have been made on the other side, too.

The primary complaint I’ve heard is that the judge has been painted as guilty without an actual trial. Media coverage, commentators and comedians have all insinuated guilt. 

The problem is that we don’t know whether he’s guilty. We don’t know whether the assault in question happened. But, people have taken sides. The general public can listen to the hearings and make their own decisions. And, it seems, they have.

It’s easy to point fingers and assign blame as we discuss such issues. But, rather than name call and assume the worst of one another — this includes the judge and the women — I’d hope that we’d listen with an honest effort to understand one another. We still may not agree. That’s OK. But maybe the divisiveness and vitriol would have a chance to diminish if we listened to understand rather than to come up with our next comeback. 

I think we can all agree that if that would happen, we could move forward and should have a better chance of raising the level of public discourse in our country.