Happiness and Healing a Nation
I don’t normally talk politics in this column, and honestly, tonight’s post really isn’t political. America has been politically divided for some time. Over the last four years that division has seemed particularly deep and extremely acrimonious. I’ve watched this division lead to a lot of hard feelings between people. Even with my own family I’ve cut a few people out of my life who have become so obsessed with politics and the divide to the point that I could no longer tolerate interacting with them. The divide was one of the driving factors in me greatly reducing my Facebook friends list. Not getting rid of people who disagreed with me, but getting rid of people who were only online friends, or people who seemed unable or unwilling to engage in reasonable discussion because of how obsessed they were with the political divide.
Intolerance of divergent ideas seems to have become the norm in America. Everyone knows that they have the right answer to everything, however some people’s right answer is the opposite of other people’s right answer, hence the divide. This has just played out in the most public of ways in the US Presidential election. There are hurt feelings on every side of the equation.
The hope is, now that the election is over, there will be an effort made by the new administration to facilitate healing in America. I’m not sure how successful that will be, because at the end of the day, it’s up to individuals, not the government, to create the healing that is needed. It’s good that it starts with the new president, but healing and the happiness it can bring has to come person to person.
My hope is that people are tired of arguing, tired of bad feelings, tired of constantly walking on egg shells around anyone they do not perfectly agree with. So tonight, I have a few suggestions for healing around politics in America.
- Gloating is a bad idea – I know, it feels great to rub it in the face of someone you disagree with that the person they support has just lost. But all it does is foster hard feelings and continue the cycle. Even if they offer conspiracy theories, I think the best idea is to look toward what can be positive, affirming and maybe even unifying going forward.
- Focus on what unifies all of us – across this country, everyone wants children to be educated, families to be safe, the elderly and our veterans supported and looked after. We all want less poverty, less illness and a cleaner environment. We want the future to be good for our children. Talk with people about those things and how we can make that happen, be willing to listen to other ideas.
- Disengage as much as possible – unfortunately, as much as I would like to think rational, fact based discourse could change minds, that doesn’t seem to happen very often. So disengage, don’t jump into the fights. This may mean limiting your social media time, or even trimming your social media contact/friend lists.
- Try to be positive – focus on the positive and least controversial decisions and aspects of current politics. Again, reduce the drama and conflict, it will keep things more peaceful.
There are a lot of hurt people right now, some from the last four years, some due to the results of the election. Healing and unity comes down to each of us, making that effort. If we don’t, well quite simply, nothing changes and I think we all want things to improve. Do what you can and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane
Thank you for this, Michael. Good advice for our times.