Find the River that Connects You

By Samantha McKenzie

We have more in common than we can ever imagine.

As I flip through the channels, I am bombarded with news stories of controversy, conflict and an extraordinary amounts of harsh criticism. Every day feels like a battle of some sort.

riveritaly

We spend entirely too many man hours picking sides, placing blame and getting lost in the melancholy lifestyle of divide and conquer. Democrats vs. Republicans. Police departments vs. community protesters. Blacks vs. whites. Heterosexuals vs. homosexuals. Christians vs. Muslims. Where does it end?

Let’s not forget the side battles on immigration, who should stay and who should go. Or the ones about our healthcare system, abortion rights, civil liberty violations, and whether or not our social security benefits will soon run out. We fight about legalizing marijuana, spending on education, and whether gays should be able to get married…or not. We draw lines upon lines so deeply in the sand that we eventually bury our sight.

When I was a reporter, I sat through dozens of zoning commission meetings with people who could wrangle for hours over renaming streets and other mind-numbing topics. We stand tall in disagreement and stronger in dissension, it always seemed.

While I am a true supporter of freedom of speech, my humanity is in direct conflict with dialogue that leaves people damaged or communities fractured. Listen painfully to us. We are constantly judging each other and comparing notes to see if we can accept another member into our imaginary club.

Why can’t we embrace the things that connect us? There are endless possibilities to building on common ground and capitalizing on a shared goal that brings value to the whole.

Our time can be better spent. It certainly should be.

Create new dialogue that unites. Mirror behaviors that are inclusive. Indulge in appreciative and opposing views. Accept that we are all unique and valuable. Search for the road that carries us to the source.

Be the river that connects us all.

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