Democratic debates. Gun violence and the potential solutions. Baby boomers and millenials. Border security. Trade wars with China. There you have five examples of divisive issues which people seem to feel very strongly about that I listed off the top of my head in(checks watch) 10 seconds. All of these divisive topics are extremely important and can, potentially, have life changing, world altering effects. What you are not about to read here are a list of solutions to solve or bridge these divisions, nor will you find me saying anything about the divisions being false or insincere. What you are about to read, however, is my equally real, sincere, and important concern about the nature of division in our national conversations.
I’m not going to pretend that divisions in America are anything new. I’m not even willing to say that our opinions being divided is a bad thing. In fact, often it seems to be our divided opinions that inspire the conversations and the debates that really seem to move us forward as a nation and as a people. The problem that actually has me concerned, though, is the lack of reconciliation after the discussions. We seem to think, or live as if we think, that being divided is more normal than being united. It’s almost as if we think that our divisions, or our differences, are more important that our common ground.
In fact, a lot of people seem to think there may not be any common ground left. We define ourselves more by what we aren’t rather than what we aren’t. Republicans and Democrats define themselves more by what they dislike about the other party. Even in the Democratic debates, the main focus seems to be just about who could defeat Trump.
I think it’s about time that we start to remember that divisions in our opinions don’t have to represent a difference in what we are. We need to keep in mind that we need each other, not in spite of our differences, but because of them. If everyone thought the way I did, what a boring world that would be! The divisions between us don’t need to be a threat to our opinions. Our own opinions can be strengthened by talking to people who disagree. These divisions in our views is the opportunity for someone else’s understanding to help us better understand our own.