You may recall the Bible story about the two women who came before the wise Solomon. Both claimed a certain baby was hers. After hearing their arguments, Solomon proposed cutting the baby in two and giving each woman half a baby. You can read the rest of the story in the Bible’s Book of Kings.
I thought of this story because I feel we are at the point in our society where we have sides ready to destroy America so the other side cannot have it. Desperate times indeed. We have been at odds before over what is best for our country and have not always come to a peaceful solution. The Civil War is one example. But now even the two sides have a number of factions each claiming to be right while everyone else is wrong. Various factions feel justified in fearing and hating their opponents.
At most times in the past we have been able to listen to each other even if we don’t agree and usually have been able to reach some kind of compromise. The goal is for both sides to have at least some of what they want without toppling our whole society. I am not sure we are still capable of or willing to reach a compromise based on our current state of affairs. Most people feel entrenched on one side or another and have difficulty appreciating anything of a positive nature in each other.
We seem to be living in a precarious time of darkness. Unfortunately we have no national leadership to show us how to compromise and listen to each other. We have a president who seems to delight in seeing us at each other’s throats so he can go about making our country one which serves his needs alone. We may gain short term benefits economically but without an environment, how will we survive. If we destroy the world it will not matter if we are globalists, nationalists, or individualists. Not a promising predicament.
What are our options? One is to stay at each other’s throats until nothing is left of our civilization. Another is to throw up our hands and give in to a life of chaos. In the absence of reasonable leadership, the only option I see left is to take matters into our own hands. To accomplish anything, we must accept that winning at all costs is no victory. We need to keep our own counsel while we listen to each other. Once we understand what is important to others, we can begin to find common ground. That does not mean we will agree on everything but once we start to listen we can start looking for ways to compromise which will help us work toward achieving our common needs.
• Write down what is important to you.
• Start conversations with others by seeking to understand their needs and goals.
• Look for overlap between your needs and wishes and those of others.
• Seek ways you can work together toward this end.
• In areas of disagreement, look for bridges between you and them.