Anyone living here in the United States will tell you, there are mounting tensions playing in the background of our lives. As politicians gear up for another election year their claims, promises, and perceptions of life are driving an already fractured country apart along lines of socioeconomic class, religion, gender, and race.
It has become clear that ordinary people have little say in what goes on in Washington. Voters are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the polarized 2 party system. According to the Gallup Polls in 2015, 42% of Americans identify as independents while 26% identify as Republicans, and 29% identify themselves as Democrats.
The current political landscape is ripe with fear mongering and power plays. Politicians are winning votes by keeping voters distracted and discontent.
So what are we to do? What should we fight for? I am certainly not here to tell you who to vote for, but above it all, I believe we should be fighting for understanding and openness within our local communities and within our country.
Love and Kindness are Radical Forces
We are one nation. If we want to stay united the only way forward is together.
The talking heads are trying to get us to place blame. They want us to blame the other side (whoever that may be) for all the ills of society.
For several years our nation has lived with a political system that views the inability to compromise as a strength. If you will not compromise then you must believe that you are 100% right. No one in their right mind can make that claim.
We are All Wrong
We all have much to learn. In one way or another we all have blind spots. We all come to the table with unique life experiences and perspectives. It's impossible to see the bigger picture of what's really going on in our nation without each other.
Fight the Power
While our "leaders" are doing their best to tear us apart, we must refuse to hate our supposed enemies. Instead we should resolve to try and understand them.
Start small. We must seek out people with viewpoints that offend us and befriend them.
Listen. We should delight in listening to their funny stories, their hopes and dreams for the future, and the places where they have been wounded and hurt. Revel in our shared humanity. Only then can we engage in friendly conversation and debate. Be open to learn.
Fight. We have to fight to love our neighbors. Fight against the very human tendency to think we're better than the people we demonize.
Let's let our love be bigger than our outrage and fear