“Leaps of greatness require the combined problem-solving ability of people who trust each other.”
― Simon Sinek
That’s the truth of it. We can’t do anything alone, and we can’t make lasting, meaningful progress through the use of force, bullying, or intimidation. We really need to start moving toward trust in this country, and in the world at large. Trust is the bedrock upon which civilizations are formed. Trust that the government has our best interests at heart, trust that our fellow citizens will look out for us and act as good Samaritans. It’s the idea that the people around you will act in good faith toward one another.
How do we build this trust? By throwing away the labels we have plastered all over everyone and every thing: “Trump Supporter,” “SJW,” “Extremist.” None of these labels are helping to unify our nation, in fact they are doing the opposite. Defining a person by a label makes it easy to simply ignore anything they might have to say, because once they are labeled they are no longer a real person. They become a two dimensional caricature of a human being in the mind of the person who labeled them. Everything they say and do is viewed through the distorting lens of the label. Respect is not possible in this situation.
Here’s something we should all remind ourselves of every day: Every human being has something in common with every other human being on the planet. It’s true. All we have to do is connect with someone, find out what that thread of commonality is, and grab on. Build on that common experience and mutual respect will follow. Then use that respect as a baseline for discussion of the more divisive issues.
I pose this challenge to my readers: Go out and strike up a conversation with a stranger. Find out where your common experiences lie and talk it out. It has to start somewhere, so let’s get it started ourselves!