What a shocking idea!
Me, mingle with those idiots???
I don’t think so, you may be thinking.
Well, if you do ever venture to mingle closely with “the enemy”
(Democrat or Republican)
I can assure you it will be a shock.
It will not be what you expect.
I have close lifelong friends in both parties whom I love dearly.
I am a conservative and my husband is a liberal.
I assure you that if you allow yourself to get close
with even one of the people on the other side of our great divide
it will change you.
For better or worse?
Well, the only way it will be for better is if you are both constructive people
–willing to listen to each other’s thoughts without attacking or debating.
Let’s suppose the two of you are both constructive people.
And suppose you sit down over coffee
and have some real good deep talks
about some issue that you have different perspectives on.
Abortion, immigration, gun control—you name it.
Suppose both of you speak your heart and mind and soul
and gently explain to each other what you believe, and why,
and how you came to believe it.
And suppose both of you listen to each other with the aim of understanding,
not refuting nor disputing,
what the other is attempting to convey to you.
Instead, as you hear the other person lay out and explain how they see things,
you seek to find common ground.
What will happen when you share your insights in this manner?
Ideally you will learn three vital lessons:
A) You don’t know everything.
You will discover that your view is not the only valid and valuable way
to see the world.
This discovery will temper your arrogance and smugness.
In your conversation, you are not allowed to play superior.
Ah, but neither are they. 🙂
Their arrogance and smugness, too, will be tempered.
They too will discover that their view is not the only valid and valuable way
to see the world!
And what will happen once you both recognize that neither of you knows everything?
B) You will realize you need to know some of the insights this other person has!
And they will realize they need to know some of the insights you have!
This person in a different political party than you
has different priorities than you have.
You haven’t been giving their priorities the attention they deserve.
And they haven’t been giving your priorities the attention they deserve, either.
C) Ultimately you will both realize that you will need to combine the best
of the insights of both of you in order to work toward creating win/win solutions
to the problems we face in our society.
It’s called democracy
O my goodness.
A conservative reaching across the aisle
with a generous and open spirit…
to a liberal…
who reaches back with the same spirit…
so that together we can work to find solutions
that serve our whole country…
Isn’t that a quaint idea???
We haven’t seen much of that in a long, long time.
All most of our political leaders do these days
is fight with each other, right?
Well, most of them are lawyers.
Isn’t fighting what lawyers are trained to do???
Hmmm…but isn’t fighting with each other all WE do???
And we’re not even lawyers!
We’re just everyday Americans who may be starting to think
that pulling out our guns and fighting it out
would be the only way to settle all this, once and for all.
Surely that would be better than (gasp) learning from each other.
Maybe we’ve forgotten our last Civil War…
The number of soldiers who died between 1861 and 1865, generally
estimated at 620,000, is approximately equal to the total of American
fatalities in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War,
the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War,
But this time it wouldn’t only be the soldiers dying.
It would be you and me and everyone caught in the crossfire of Red versus Blue.
So what do you think?
Shall we Americans summon our generous and open spirit
so we can mingle with, and learn from, people in the other party?
So together we can find ways to actually resolve the serious issues facing our country?
“The mystic chords of memory,— Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address March 4, 1861
stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave
to every living heart and hearthstone all over this land,
will yet swell the chorus of the Union,
when again touched, as surely, they will be,
by the better angels of our nature.”
Or would we rather continue to maintain
that OUR side already possesses ALL the Truth…
and watch as our country divides itself with the sword?
Let us remember the story of King Solomon and the baby.
It was the true mother of the baby
who cried out
to not cut the baby in half.