Things that Divide Us

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Four score and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. I know that I am not the creator of those words. They were spoke by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, at the end of the civil war. We had just abolished slavery and the country was still very divided.

Why did I recite the beginning of the speech? I believe our country is just as divided now as it was back then. We have all heard the stories of families getting into fights over political differences and disagreements and never speaking to each other again. All I can say is wow! How is it possible that someone you have known and loved your whole life can be excommunicated over an argument about politics or and other reason.

Where are we as a country if this behavior is happening in families?

When the discourse becomes so emotional that we can no longer talk to one another we are on very dangerous ground! WE must do something to change the direction of our own lives and our country.

How did we get here? What will it take to change the direction of the country? What can we / I do to make a difference? These questions are running through my head when I think about my eleven-year-old daughter and the world she is growing up in. One day she will be an adult and will live in mess we have created.

I think the first step is to stop listening to the biased communications that come from our politicians and news media sources (if you can call it news). Their moral compass is skewed (if they have one at all) and they only seek to fill their pockets with money and grab as much power as they can. We owe it to ourselves to find out the truth about our current events without the slant of someone’s agenda or ideology.

Next, we must learn how to have a conversation with people we disagree with. How do we do that without turning it into an argument? In my experience, the first thing we must do is to listen without judging. Try it out you might learn something. I have a colleague with completely different views on several topics and he regularly teaches me something new.

We must learn to listen to people without forming our reply while they are speaking. You cannot hear a word someone is saying if you are thinking about your rebuttal before they are finished talking. Force yourself to repeat what they said back to them if the form of a question, if I heard your right, then repeat what they said.

This reinforces that you heard them are listening and want to understand them. When it is time for you to talk do it in a non-threatening manner. If we can make our statements in the form of a question or questions it absolutely makes the other person consider the question differently than a statement would. No one should be threatened by a question.

Due to our herd mentality and the need for confirmation and validation we are always trying to get people to agree with and like us. Conversion has been one of the causes of every war and fight ever fought. I don’t believe that people want to be converted. They want to be heard and feel like they matter. If we can achieve this sentiment at the end of all of our conversations we might be able to change the direction of our own lives and MAYBE our country.

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