Ripples #912: Seeing The Best?

Ripples #931: Seeing The Best!
Mar 27, 2017


When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.
-William Arthur Ward, shared by Chris, Green Bay, WI


We’ve become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.
—Jimmy Carter, shared by Glen in Memphis, TN


Sometimes when I know my schedule is going to be hectic I try and assemble a few issues of Ripples in advance to make sure I have good ones to consistently unleash each Monday morning. Late last October during a long layover, I matched the two quotes above and imagined they would make an excellent “coming together” theme just in time for the first Monday after the November election. I even had drafted the first part of the ponder, assuming that a week after the election most of us to be ready for a pep talk about coming together. This is what I had written:

“Whew–We made it to the end of the election cycle! Many people will need a little more time to celebrate their victory, recover from their defeat, or decompress after an especially rancorous campaign. Eventually, we are all going to need to rise up and figure out how to come together; we also need figure out how to improve our ability to get along with each other, respect our differences, and forge ahead to create a future that will improve things for all of us. That is a tall order, and some people think it has become impossible given that we increasingly choose to live in politically homogenous areas and prefer media sources that reinforce our world view rather than help us examine multiple perspectives.”

News flash: thanks to an election result that most of us didn’t expect and more than a few of us didn’t want, I couldn’t find ANYONE who was ready to “come together,” just six days after the election. Even today, many of us are still are perplexed how we could even begin to rebuild our long depleted reserves of trust and respect with those who are “on the other side.”

I’m as weary (and wary!) as the next person, but at the same time curious whether last week’s somewhat unexpected turn of events with health care reform could signal a new opportunity for us to test the waters and attempt some bridge building. Could this victory allow progressives to pause and catch their breath a bit? Might it allow conservatives to be reminded that many of these incredibly complex issues have a better chance of being addressed if we came together not to *eliminate* our differences but instead to *leverage* our differences in ways that would allow us to listen, learn, consider, collaborate, compromise, and move things forward in some meaningful way?

I know it’s a bit of a long shot, but I also know that we tend to reward our friends (and ourselves) for their strengths while we punish our foes (and those we don’t know well) for their weakness. Is it possible we could come together long enough to recognize some of the genuinely positive attributes of our foes, and concede the inevitable flaws of our friends? Can we at least try?


The Ripples Guy

p.s. If you haven’t seen it yet, you may find it useful to peek at remarkable 3 minute video called, All That We Share, put together by a TV network in Denmark.

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