When I step back from the blogs, news stories and Facebook rants about politics this year, I realize the challenge that Americans face. We have to choose people to govern us and keep us together as a country, and in order to do that we have to identify our distinct values so that we can take a position, often diametrically opposed to that of other Americans. In our quest to find some one to unite us we form partisan factions that stand in strident opposition.
What we all seem to forget, or fail to accept, is that we are not a like-minded people and will never be. This land is too big, our experience too diverse, and our personal “religions” to different ever coalesce into one voice, one mind. This means that Americans can let ourselves bicker and bash as we have for the last few months, or we can work to find places that we agree and try to solve problems in that context.
The other reality that we are ignoring right now is that we think differently because we are different and those differences in the way our minds work keep us from seeing the world the same way. For example, some people see wealth or resources as finite. There is only a certain amount and if you have more that means I have less. Others see it as unlimited, so that if you have more than me I can still go get more too. You can’t easily change some ones mind on something like this, so don’t try. That doesn’t mean we can’t share that world.
Our challenge in listening to political advertisements, speeches and debates is to decide who is going to help us solve problems, provide for our needs, and help us live in peace and prosperity with our world neighbors. The goal is to have OUR country not MY country. Remember, if only your views are heard and only your wishes granted then another body of Americans is going to be left out and their needs not met. The next time one of your neighbors speaks in support of a candidate, a principle or belief that you object to, close your mouth and listen. Why is his/her thinking so different from yours? Where is the common ground?
Democracy is messy enough without all the yelling.