Our political differences: An opportunity for connection?
In all of my lifetime (52 years), I do not think that I have witnessed a more polarized time, 2018 – politically we have 2 distinct camps. Supporting our President or Appalled by our President. I come from a small town in upstate New York. I have lived in a variety of places over the years in addition to where I grew up: Austin, TX and currently Southern California. My facebook ‘friends’ are from all those places and every where I have ever spoken publicly in between. I have ‘friends’ from both sides of our currently vastly polarized United States of America. It shocks me that we are not all in agreement on the issue around guns and school shootings but we are not. We are so not.
I am ‘open’ about my political stance on Facebook. Why? Because who I am is someone that puts a stake in the ground not to be ‘against others’ but to claim my values and my position and use my voice (words) in a way that empowers others (I hope). To remind those around me that OUR VOICE MATTERS. When my ‘friends’ post on my facebook page in contradiction to what I post and voice their opposing perspectives, I have decided to use the social media platform to pause. I take in their perspective, to remember who they once were, to think about how life must be for them to believe what they believe. And say what they say.
In that pause, I listen to what they are saying. I sit with it. I decide first if it is ‘abusive’ to me or someone else. If it is, I unfriend. Boundaries matter. If it is not abusive, I try to value their voice. I decide on my intention. I try to find my voice again – beyond my anger, my frustration, my arrogance, my ego – my judgement… I sit with it, and wait until I find my calm voice that can have a social media conversation that is coming from a place of compassion among our differences. I slow down. I try to be responsive rather than reactive. Should I react, I know that I create even more divisiveness in the world – and what my intention always is – is to empower, inspire, and remind us that we are more than what we think we are.