However, I can share what her email led me to start thinking about, with regard to factions that seem to be developing in all our communities, social, political and others, recently. Here is some of what I said to her (edited to remove names):
"We really do seem to be in a similar "spot." And I think asking questions of ALL the parties who confuse you or you need more information from is the only way to get accurate info to make a good decision about things. And the more you learn, the more you see NOTHING is black and white, no one is pure as the driven snow or pure evil, etc. If people honestly interact, share their opinions and why they formed them, you can usually learn something from them, and vice versa.
"Where I fall down is when I see people deliberately trying to lead people astray, misinform others, or insinuate things that are not true (without coming out and saying them--classic passive aggressive behavior). I get really angry at this tactic, probably because I see it as a tactic I used in the past before I realized it was NOT a good idea (best thing I got out of therapy). You always react more strongly to flaws in others that you also see in yourself, I think. I guess this is why, right now, I don't think I could be in the same room ten minutes with [a particular colleague], someone I used to respect a lot, even though I don't agree with her politics, etc. But I also feel sorry that she and a few others seem so upset that they need to "fight dirty" or "fight" at all about ... stuff. That "war" metaphor that creeps into SO many American interactions is NOT a useful way to solve differences or work toward solutions."
I know it's been said before--I remember reading a book by Suzette Hayden Elgin many years ago talking about how the "war" and "battle" metaphors used in American English perpetuate the idea that we are always battling each other. I am now trying to make a concerted effort to use peaceful language and will fight to get war metaphors out of my speech and writing (ha ha ha, I crack myself up). I must note that I think SOME use of competition metaphors or the sort are needed--competition itself isn't a bad thing--it just becomes counterproductive when every single thing becomes a battle, a fight, or even a "game" you are trying to win. It scares me when I realize I have slipped into "game mode," and realize I am participating in a discussion or a debate just to prove I am a better arguer than someone who rubs me the wrong way. That's why I have stepped away from a number of passionate discussions lately.
Yow, it's hard to keep trying to become a better person!