If you are like me, and most of the people I know,
you are deeply concerned about our country.
What you see scares you.
You see violence, and the potential for much more.
You see the rising hatred between our two sides.
Each side now considers the other side to be the enemy
not just the opposition.
You are afraid some crazy fanatic is going to spark
widespread armed conflict.
I wish I could tell you this is just a paranoid fantasy.
Unfortunately, it’s not.
It is a real possibility.
What can I do?
Every constructive person in America
is asking themselves this question.
What can I possibly do
to help prevent political violence?
If you are asking yourself this question,
first of all let me thank you.
It means you care.
Regardless of which side you are on,
I respect you for caring.
I remember going to an Arlo Guthrie concert in 2002.
He talked to us about the 60’s,
when he was deeply committed
to opposing the war in Vietnam.
He said that these days his close friends
are people who put their lives on the front lines
on both sides of that issue.
Why am I close now
with a person who sacrificed in support of that war? he asked.
“Because we both gave a damn.”
Guthrie had come to respect persons
who had different views and beliefs than he did.
He came to see
they had cared as much for their country as he had.
So let’s learn from his experience,
now rather than later.
Let’s approach our current situation
with an open and generous heart.
Instead of feeling smug and superior
to those who see things differently than we do
let’s begin by acknowledging how much they care
about our country.
Even if they go about it in a misguided way,
they care greatly.
Yes, it takes humility
and a generous heart
to acknowledge how much our fellow Americans care.
But by acknowledging that those with other views
care as much as we do
we open the door to finding common ground.
Finding common ground
is how we will prevent violence.
It is how we will rebuild the foundation of our country.
Our central core of common values.
Are you willing to take the next step?