What is necessary to keep our dear Republic is for all of us to agree that we are stronger together than we are apart. And in order for us to stay together, this will involve each of us to make some fundamental changes to how we interact within our tribes and across our tribes. These changes to our behavior are critical to not only stopping the slide into division, but will in fact allow us all to become a much stronger country.
A key reason that America has been strong and successful is because, although very diverse in thought, we share a common in spirit. One core tenet of that spirit is that we can debate very passionately our positions but, at the end of the day, we know that we are ultimately on the same team. We are passionate mainly because we care so deeply about this country and its future. And we can certainly imagine that the person across from us, debating from the other side of the issue, also wants that same thing. In other words, we need to acknowledge that their intention is as true and honorable as ours.
Once we acknowledge that most people truly want what is best for this country and its people, then we can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can stop the dehumanizing of the other side because we know, like us, they want what is best for this country and the generations that will follow us. We might believe that their solution and approach to a problem is not optimal, but we should never assume evil intentions in another person’s heart. Each side can stop labeling people on the other side with dehumanizing terms (such as “white supremacists” or “communists”). And within your own tribe, you can call out members who do that. Instead, let’s view these folks as our brothers and sisters, with maybe different ideas about how to solve something.
From a personal perspective, each of us can also acknowledge that we do not have all the answers. We can acknowledge that we could be wrong about a given approach or solution. We may even be starting with invalid data on which we are making our decisions. This doesn’t mean that we believe our positions are weak, but it means that we are willing to test them to see how well they hold up. As an intellectual, one should not see this as a threat, but as an opportunity to test things in the marketplace of ideas. And if you are saying that you know every one of your positions is correct, then you are saying you have zero room to grow in your understanding of the world; hardly the approach of an intellectual and certainly not likely to be true.
So, let’s all acknowledge we are stronger together, and start treating each other as brothers and sisters. Let’s have vigorous debate, keep an open mind, and look for the common ground.