I was able to catch some of the inauguration yesterday. I was more emotionally moved by this event than any presidential inauguration I can remember. Words of encouragement, unity, and the challenge ahead felt right, timely, meaningful, and uplifting.
But I was also challenged.
The political pendulum has often swung hard with a presidential election. But it seems now, more than ever, those swings are overly-dramatic, and as the last four years have shown us, can be costly to the soul of our nation.
I woke this morning with a conviction: as we begin to move the pendulum leftward, perhaps back towards the center or beyond, I believe it will be so very important for those of us who are encouraged by this directional move to remember – those who vehemently disagree with this direction are our neighbors, our friends, our family, and fellow Americans.
For the vast majority of those who supported the rightward move over the last four years, they had in mind what they thought was best for our country. They believed with their heart and soul that President Trump was moving us in the right/correct direction. Regardless of how strongly I may disagree with that sentiment, I must remember that we are all in this together, and “they” are not my opponent, they are my partner in this experiment.
I believe the one thing that has the potential to move us away from the right vs. left strife in this country is better communication. And I believe that must start with me, doing my best to remember that those who think differently than I are not to be beaten, conquered, or quieted down. Rather, they must be acknowledged, listened to, actually heard, and engaged.
I am hopeful that we can communicate well enough going forward to find common ground. I certainly understand that there are a few, and I hope a very few, that are willing to throw away the future of our country for a shot at “their side” winning.
We must be ever vigilant to watch for anything that truly threatens our democracy. But…we MUST be willing to listen, to hear, to consider, and to communicate.
Dare I say – our very future depends on it.