During the past election season, I got a kick out of a particular segment on the Jimmy Fallon Show, called “Common Ground.” During the segment, Fallon’s staffer would go out into the streets and grab a pedestrian who identified as a Republican, and another who identified as Democrat. The job of the interviewer was to find something that the two parties could agree upon. The questions were silly: things like “boxers or briefs?” or, “thin crust or pan pizza?” By the end of the segment, everyone had found something to agree upon and laugh about together – some type of common ground.
Last weekend, I had several female friends who participated in various Right-to-Life marches. The very next day I had several other female friends who marched for women’s right to make choices, including the right to have an abortion. Both marches included signs about respect, dignity and rights. And both marches only considered one point of view. I couldn’t help but notice the irony of one sign that read, “Respect for all. Where is it?” It certainly wasn’t at that march.
But it could have been.
I have nothing against marches; in fact, I have participated in a few myself. I believe it is our duty as American citizens to lift our voices in unity about issues we deem unacceptable. But somewhere along the way we have quit looking for common ground. It breaks my heart to realize how divided we have become, because we are all in this sisterhood together. We are daughters, mothers, grandmothers and wives. We are aunts, cousins and girlfriends. We are smart, sassy, fascinating, and funny. We love deeply and want to be loved by others. We were each born with a unique set of gifts that is ours to use to make this world a better place. We have so much in common. Why do we seem bent on spending precious moments and hours ranting about our differences?
In my heart of hearts I believe that there are certain things that we can all agree upon; things that should be non-negotiables as we walk together through life.
- We want the world to be a better place. Each and every morning we wake up, hoping that our world will be a little bit brighter than it was when we went to bed. We want peace and harmony to surround us.
- We need to take care of our planet. It’s the only home we have. Whether or not we agree on issues of global warming, wind turbines, genetic engineering, or pipelines, one thing is certain: we need to use our knowledge to preserve the land sustaining us.
- We need to treat others as we want to be treated. Only by showing love and respect to our fellow man – regardless of skin color, gender or political affiliation – will we ever be able to change our world for the better.
- We need to use social media wisely. Through the use of social media we can share life’s milestones with others. We can raise money and awareness where there is a need. We can form a sense of community regardless of the miles between us.
- We want to leave a legacy for the generations to come – one that includes advances in science and industry, one that protects basic rights and freedoms, and one that upholds the values upon which our country was founded.
Beyond those basics, we are all going to have differing opinions. Do you have something you believe in so strongly that you just have to share it with others? I know I do! But we aren’t likely to change the opinions of our friends by beating them over the head with our views, and then refusing to listen to theirs. We need to build relationships with our friends. Love on them. Have a conversation. And be open to hear their beliefs as well. It’s the give and take, the call to accountability, and the iron sharpening iron that makes this country so uniquely great. Communication doesn’t happen unless you have someone with a message, and someone else to hear it. We cannot hear each other if we are talking over each other, or covering our ears.
We are in this sisterhood of life together. Can we talk?