Can we Keep Our Integrity and Still Find Common Ground

What are the benefits of searching for common ground? Is it possible for a person to build an alliance with someone with whom they disagree on a polarizing issue while staying true to their ideals? Not only is the answer yes, I believe we will advance farther as a society when we develop empathy and respect for those who have different views.

George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times, recently wrote, “Polarization has poisoned politics from top to bottom in this country—from ill-mannered President Trump down to uncivil shouting protestors inside Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The poison long ago infected social media and is worsened daily by the obsessively tweeting president.” (For the Skelton’s full column, please go to the link at the bottom of the page.)

Skelton, describes a University of Southern California program called The USC Center for the Political Future. Bob Shrum, and Mike Murphy, veterans of the political battle field developed the program. They will discuss topics such as tribalism and what drives people into tribes.

My message last week was common ground opens up possibilities. Continuing on that theme, as polarizing as the national issues are, I suggest that the reason we need to search for common ground to grapple with the local issues that affect us on a daily basis. Issues such traffic and schools.

In my hometown, Alameda, the School Board is discussing the idea of merging our two major high schools. That’s a huge deal that is could change people’s lives. Suppose at a social event you got to talking with someone who was on the extreme opposite of you on a national issue. Both of you now have a choice. The first choice is to tell yourself the person uninformed or worse and move on. The second choice would be to continue conversation. When you decide to be polite and continue the conversation, you find out that both of you have kids who would be affected by the merger. You also learn that as “misinformed” the person is on the polarizing issue you disagree on, you’re on the same page when it comes to the community and the schools. Both of you have stayed true to your views and you’ve developed an alliance based on what you have in common—what’s best for your kids and your community.

Common ground not only opens up possibilities, our communities become stronger.

Let’s keep opening up the possibilities by finding common ground.

Link to George Skelton’s column, https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/09/10/skelton-usc-political-street-fighters-battle-to-restore-civility-in-trump-era/

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