It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
-Audre Lorde, shared by Joan in Albany, NY via Grateful Living
We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject. For both have labored in the search for truth and both have helped us in the finding of it.
-Thomas Aquinas, shared by Jean in Arcadia, CA
As the U.S. Election Day unfolds, our country remains divided. Not at our most divided, but not nearly united enough to tend to the significant challenges facing our country and the world.
Here’s my take: conflict is an inherent part of human connection, occurring in families, friendships, workplaces, and communities. Successfully navigating these conflicts requires nurturing respect, trust, and positive regard. However, fears and concerns often fuel divisive “us vs. them” mentalities, fostering loyalty within sub-groups but hindering collaboration on significant challenges. Despite differing perspectives, it’s crucial to recognize that everyone, regardless of their views, is part of Team Humanity: a collection of imperfect humans trying to make the most of their time on Earth.
YES, it’s true there are some people with bad intentions and bad ideas can have an outsized impact on things, wreaking havoc and making things worse instead of better. It’s also true there are (lots and lots of) good people who want to believe that things can get better, and who want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Instead of viewing foes as enemies, we can choose to embrace curiosity and work to rebuild trust, respect, and positive regard that can pave the way for repairing relationships.
And while it’s important to cast votes that are aligned with our personal values, it is equally important to consider the larger collective: shifting perspectives and actions to recognize ourselves as part of a greater whole is challenging yet essential for our survival as a species. Pivoting from “us. vs. them” to a mindset of “Voting for Us” is tricky to say the least. It also happens to be worth it.
P.S. Full disclosure: the original draft of this ponder had become ridiculously wordy, so I asked ChatGPT to help me condense it. I added back most of the “this is just how I write” language, although I used some of the suggested edits to condense my original ramblings. That’s okay, right?