May 19, 2022- I was raised to listen to legitimate criticism and to own my mistakes. I was taught that the only real path to peace, in a family or in a community, comes from the commitment of everyone involved to personal growth. My parents said that anyone can be unified with those who say nice things to him/her or who have common opinions and interests. It’s the differences of opinion, however, that teach us the most.
Throughout my life, there have been a smattering of nefarious people, but for the most part, those who have been a challenge have also had useful lessons to impart. Their takes on life was simply different from my own and actually have helped balance this life, often in ways I did not anticipate.
So, I see that there is little for conservatives to gain by shutting out progressives. The converse is also true. The fact is, none of us corners the market on perfection. We don’t deserve to be castigated or made to apologize for our existence nor do we deserve a free pass for actions that will only hold us back later. The same is true with mindsets. Looking at things through different lenses, as long as it does not result in overthinking, or mental paralysis, can help us make more complete decisions.
The other thing about unity is that it never gets very far along, if a decision-maker assumes that his/her way of thinking entitles unilateral action, from a place of privilege. Witness the recent, supposedly informed decision to close an infant formula plant in Michigan. This appears to have been made in haste, based on unverified reports of contamination-which subsequently proved unfounded. Such errors in judgement, especially by government agencies which have scant oversight, only feed concerns-and conspiracy theories, that government is running amok. This is a rough parallel to concerns about police actions that seem to have been done in haste-though it is a fair point that the police are often under far more pressure to decide quickly than are the overseers of public health.
True unity recognizes the dignity, the worth of every soul. It does not excuse wrongdoing, nor does it invite self-serving individuals to subvert the process of consultation for their own ends. Rather, it sees that each one who does make such misguided efforts actually ends up hurting selves as well as the rest of humanity.
So often, it is easy to be fooled by glitz, by sweet promises or by appeals to one’s own long-cherished beliefs. In reality, there is no substitute for rolling up one’s sleeves and getting the hard work done. We’re in this together, and for the long haul.