Last week I decided to take a week off from writing this because of making another choice. I wanted to vote on November 1, and with my other commitments in life something had to go, so I did not write. As I waited in line to vote I had fun conversation with other voters. In the polling place there was positive energy and as I left there were mutual greetings of have a good day with people I do not know. I did not know anyone’s political affiliations and voting preferences, they did not know mine. We were all joined in our common goal exercising our right in the United States of America to vote.
I wonder if we had known one another’s political affiliation and voting preferences would things have changed. Would our judgements of what it means to be a liberal, democrat, or republican interfered. My guess is for some yes. The judgements of what type of person votes “that” way can stop conversations, can stop the curiosity of getting to know another, and can create barriers between people.
Yet we are all people. Humans who are trying to exist in a world that can be pretty challenging and really joyous. People trying to provide and care for ourselves, our families, and friends. As Brenè Brown said we are “hardwired for struggle” yet aren’t we all trying the best we can to be the best we can?
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
Daryl Davis is a musician, who is Black, who in the 1980’s used education, conversation, and relationships which resulted in a number of KKK member’s leaving the Ku Klux Klan. Despite differences, despite judgments, he continued to build meaningful relationships. There was talking, listening, conversation.
Too often we let our perceptions label other people, which too often results in barriers of not talking and getting to know other people, because they don’t believe or feel like we do. What if, we just approached people as well, people. Not labels or categories, just as people. One of the definition’s of unity, according to Merriam-Webster, is a “condition of harmony.” To create a condition of harmony you need to play together, figure out how to use our strengths together to create a powerful unified force, where our best ideas come together.
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, together we can do great things.” Mother Theresa
As I was researching information on how to unite a divided group of people all the articles I read over began with communication as the key ingredient. In a TED talk by Theo E.J. Wilson titled “A Black man goes undercover in the alt-right” he states “humanity needs an upgrade. That’s a big task, understandably, but I don’t believe in any kind of unbeatable monster. There was no giant out there with out there without perhaps a simple Achilles heel. And what if I told you that one of the best ways to actually overcome this is to have courageous conversations with difficult people, people who who do not see the world the same way you see the world? Oh yes, folks, conversations may be indeed the key to the key to that upgrade, because remember, language was the first form of virtual reality, It is literally a symbolic representation of the physical world, and through this device , we change the physical world. Keep in mind, conversations stop violence, conversations start countries, they build bridges, and when the chips are down, conversations are the last tools that humans use before they pick up their guns. And I ain’t talking about online safe conversations from the security of your laptop. No, I’m talking about in your face conversations with real, breathing people.”
Yes we can a conversation in which ideas are shared and exchanged, resulting in stronger relationships between all people, resulting in a powerful unity between all people. Where we can learn about others and ourselves along the way.
“So powerful is the light of unity that it can unify the whole earth.” Bahà i Writings
My challenge today is for everyone to begin having a conversation with people who do not share your ideals and views of the world. To talk with the idea of learning and understanding better where they are coming from and hopefully they will do the same for you.
We all matter. This is our world so why wouldn’t we want to invest the time and conversation to make it a more unified place. For us, for our children, our families, our friends.
I am up for that challenge, are you?
May your unity be with you💜