Sometimes There Are No Good Guys

Kathy Copeland Padden
4 min readAug 16, 2018
“Did anybody bring a map?” “Silhouettes of riders on horseback against the radiant sun breaking through the trees” by Tobias Keller on Unsplash

Americans haven’t been this divided philosophically since the Civil War. This level of economic disparity hasn't occurred since the Gilded Age. Every thing we see, hear, and experience bears the mark of our decline.

And people are really pissed off. Mainly at at each other. There is very little common ground to build on, and even less desire to find any.

Nevertheless, both the Right and the Left have appointed themselves the Sacred Guardians of American Democracy, although both steadfastly refuse to walk the walk if it means reaching out to “the bad guys.” Who the bad guys are largely depends on where you are sitting.

Equally unfortunate is the fact that no single group or organization is up to the task of assuming the savior role anyway. Any bold plans or fresh ideas are greeted with vitriol and a crippling case of “whataboutism.”

As we are seeing firsthand, partisan pandering is completely counterproductive. It’s a mindset that precludes any semblance of logic and balance. The ignorance and polarization resulting from no-questions-asked party loyalty is a massive stumbling block to change.

The problem with knee-jerk partisanship is that you are not dedicated to the truth; you are dedicated to a team. You are not looking out for the best interests of your country; you’re just looking out for your club.

Go Team Oligarch! Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

Life, and politics, is not a movie western standoff where the moral fiber of the combatants is clearly delineated by their black or white hats. Too many Americans believe an R for Republican or D for Democrat after your name is a political black or white hat that showcases your (highly-subjective) virtue.

Well, things are never as straightforward as black and white cowboy hats. Every human experience is colored in shades of gray.

And sometimes there are no good guys in white hats. Unless we decide to be them ourselves. And that process begins with simply … listening.

After all, just hearing another viewpoint is not construed as unspoken agreement. Listening to and considering conflicting opinions in…

Kathy Copeland Padden

is a music fanatic, classic film aficionado, and history buff surfing the End Times wave like a boss. Come along!