By Jade Beaty, Hamilton
“I define politics as the desire to preside over property and make other people’s decisions for them.” –Seattle novelist Tom Robbins
We are experiencing one of the most tumultuous periods in modern history. I am an independent thinker and voter, and I am sickened by the political climate in this valley. My father taught me to never mix business with politics or religion. That lesson served me well through a 24 year career as a realtor. I wanted my clients to feel safe and comfortable with me, no matter their origin, background, politics or religion. Not one bumper sticker rode my vehicle all those years.
I do my best to avoid taking our freedoms for granted. Freedom of speech is primary to a healthy democracy. To exercise our first amendment rights, a high level of civility, physical and emotionalsafety, and respect for each other’s viewpoints is required. Every citizen deserves to have their voice and opinions not just tolerated, but welcomed. Diversity and inclusivity have always been, and will continue to be, important principles that truly make America great.
Bullying behavior taints any encounter and shuts down conversation. So does political correctness when we are so concerned with insulting someone, anyone, that our dialogue is hampered. It’s easier to just give up than take the risk of offending or being verbally assaulted. Both of these dynamics come from the use of an imbalance of power and an agenda to dominate and control.
Extreme competition and win/lose, ‘us versus them’ mentality is ruining our capacity to address the many urgent concerns of our times. Labeling someone to feel superior shuts down the potential for understanding. Any one human is so much more complex than a single descriptor. When we listen to another’s life story – their struggles and their triumphs – we discover resonance with our own journey. If we can converse with gentle curiosity, holding heart and mind open, we find much more similarity than difference in our experiences.
What to do? Practice kindness and compassion. Strive for peace and understanding. Know that people are stressed and fearful and we all deserve patience and respect. Love one another.
Jesus would approve this message.