There is a lot of anxiety in the world today, coming from lots of different places, from COVID, to social unrest, to crime and economic strain. Watching the news can often make it worse, and reading social media- particularly given that the news is “curated” for us, which means most of us live in echo chambers — magnifies our greatest concerns and shouts them back at us with a bullhorn.
I have discovered a remedy for the concerns about the divisions in the country, and much of what feels like the wheels falling off because of deeply divided beliefs. It is very simple- go find people that you actually like and respect who hold wildly different views from your own. Whether the topic is abortion, gun control, the economy, COVID policy- or whatever has you worried that we are entering into darker times- find someone who you disagree with AND that you like and respect, and talk it over.
You may say that this is impossible- that all the good people support your candidate, or all the good people believe in [insert the issue]- and if you disagree you are a bad person. If this is what you think, I would suggest you step back and consider that you may be the problem here. As someone who has friends and family who I love that cover the gamut of political views and perspectives, I will tell you that they do exist. They aren’t stupid or malicious because they have a different view- but hearing WHY they have that view could be instructive.
I don’t expect this will change your views on what matters to you, or how to vote (it hasn’t changed mine yet, in any case, but I would like to think that I am open to the possibility). But what it has done is cause me to realize that my life, this country, what matters to me most- all of these things will not disappear if one candidate wins or another. Am I engaged in the process? You bet! Do I care who wins? I definitely do! But I also know that there are people in this world who disagree vehemently with me- but it is almost always about the WAY to solve the problems, not about the outcomes that we are looking for. I also have to acknowledge that I have been wrong before, and I will be wrong again- so at least trying to approach these discussions with some humility can’t hurt anything.
This country (and the world) needs reconciliation. As Abraham Lincoln said,
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
We need to be the ones to make sure that our “bonds of affections” are never strained to the point of breaking. United we stand.