It’s not about left or right, Republican or Democrat, right or wrong.
It’s about coming together to create the best solution for the greater good. Democracies are not founded on the notion that there is one right way and that all efforts must be made to get that way, regardless of ethics and without compassion for the other human beings who happen to have opposing viewpoints to our own. Sharing our opinions doesn’t mean we disrespect or negatively judge those whose opinions are different to ours. We must stand up to this notion by modeling courage and inclusive dialogue.
Democracies are founded on the very fact that we value having different opinions and that the best solutions come from an open debate and discussion between viewpoints to co-create the best solutions for the masses.
Democracy assumes that people sharing their opinions do so in the interest of the greater good—not just for themselves or for a small minority.
If we believe that everyone is doing the best with what they have and that everyone has some value in this world, then we need to help find another way forward for the government of our country.
Teach your children to share their opinions—with respect—not to hide them and be ashamed of speaking their minds. Teach them to ask others about their opinions and to listen with curiosity to other points of view. We all need to learn how to openly discuss varying opinions, bringing in facts and resources in support of these opinions and listening to others so that we can continue to expand our thinking on subjects and be part of the best solution for our wider community.
The U.S. government is a democracy founded on the principles of checks and balances through opposing parties with differing interests. Research on creative process and leadership shows us there is benefit in inviting different opinions and having spirited (respectful) debates and discussions to collaborate on a future path and that this process yields the best solutions with the highest likelihood of succeeding due to input from a wide variety of stakeholders.
Start setting the example by sharing your opinions with others, by asking others about their opinions and by listening with curiosity and exploring new ways through safe and supportive discussions of difference. Be a part of shaping a new reality for our national community.
Embrace democracy. Model democracy. Be the change!
Lea Bittner-Eddy, St. Anthony Park