Tuesday, October 18, 2016

'Can we all get along?'

It has become quite clear throughout this election season that we live in an extremely divided country—if it hadn't been abundantly clear prior to this. Perhaps it's understandable, given that we are a country of such diversity. However, I don't think it's necessarily a predictable outcome of such diversity. And, honestly, the divide does seem to have grown over these past few months.

I often return to Rodney King's question, "Can we all get along?" (Remember Rodney King, the African American taxi driver who was beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase in 1991?) No matter the circumstances of King's situation, the question remains a good one for us to raise again all these years later.

Can we all get along? Although we represent different races, cultures, creeds, genders, sexual orientations, viewpoints and more, isn't it possible that we can find common ground somehow through our common humanity? Isn't there more that unites us than that which divides us? Is transformation possible?

Where do we begin to make that happen? The only place we can begin is in our own heart. We start with ourselves—and move out to our families and friendship circles, then to those other groups to which we belong—and on out as far as we can reach with our connections. But it needs to begin with us. No finger-pointing. No blaming everyone else. I'm responsible. You're responsible. And, like the stone skipped into the water, the ripples will begin to spread outward further and further. Like peace-making, it must begin with us. We must be about building connections.

So ... where can I begin today to build common ground with someone? Where will you start? After all, it is up to us if we want to see our communities and society transformed.

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