My parents were married for over forty years, with a good amount of common ground between them. But their political leanings grew in different directions after the last general election.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot as this election gets closer. I loved them both very much, but I could only agree with one of them. It wasn’t easy for sure, but my love for them both as full humans forced me into a kind of “home base” of the bigger perspective, that I’m working to remember this week.
I’ve been in the helping field for twenty years. I care about people, all people, and I have seen time and time again that human beings are more similar than different … in the best of ways.
Sure we use our words and actions to do some pretty awful things at times. But it is truly the rarest sliver of the population that doesn’t yearn to “be good” and “do good” when it really comes down to it. I wish that everyone could have the experience of hearing what I’ve heard: Hundreds of stories from people of every circumstance you could imagine, who fall all over the spectrum of “good” or “bad” actions. After all those very honest one-on-one conversations, I could count on one hand, the number of people who seemed to lack the softness and “good” vulnerability that ties us all together.
That is the point of hope that I want to share: The number of “bad” or “wrong” people “out there,” as is the premise of so much of the dialogue you may be hearing right now … it isn’t true. The vast majority of humans want the exact same things: Security, freedom, a sense of belonging, and relationships that give us love and let us love back.
So how do certain people seem so different from us right now? Fear.
Fear tells us a warped story that is never entirely accurate. Is there danger in the world? Yes. Are there people who are corrupt or bad actors? Yes. But how many “bad” or “wrong” or “just selfish” people really exist? Not nearly as many as fear (or fear-mongers) will tell you.
This fact is the opportunity for hope that is taking the edge off of my own anxiety about the coming week. Whatever happens, I refuse to forget that we have more in common than different. The vast, vast majority of us share a common “good vulnerability” that gives us community and national safety, in every sense of the word, if we can just remember it, and make decisions based on it.