Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Recently, I enjoyed a trip to visit my family in Iowa. In addition to the perks associated with this type of journey, I also received many an insight regarding the importance of relationships, conversation and the acceptance necessary for people to speak their mind safely. I had wonderful conversations with family members as well as people sitting next to me on the flights of which I was a part. In several cases the conversation surprisingly turned “political”. And many times, it was revealed that our “party” affiliations were in opposition…yet our concerns were similar…the issues we saw as needing attention were the same…and the space held for listening to one another was jointly reciprocated. It was eye-opening not only for me…but for the other participants as well. There was a connection made at a “unity” level that allowed each to hear and share – seemingly without fear. These conversations were primarily between women but I had a similar conversation with my dad.
Through the gift of these interactions, it became evident to me that when we talked “party”, we began to point fingers, defend positions and attack. There was an underlying and bubbling anger…and a need to make ourselves “right”…and the other, “wrong”. When we talked about our concerns, we found that we agreed. There was a shared nodding of the heads…and in listening to the views of those from various parts of the country…there was an expansion in an understanding of the issue. I found that differing perspectives really are necessary, if we are to get the “big picture” in order to create solutions.
It is apparent to me that we as a nation have become unconsciously taken hostage by a belief that we only have 2 choices (and the choices have become, in many ways, extreme). Therefore, we have to choose one or the other – neither of which has all the answers. Through these conversations, I found that there is a huge “Middle” that remains silent and unrepresented. We remain unrepresented because the two extremes controlling party decisions have nothing in common (while those in the “Middle” seem to find much in common).
We complain about our representation but we vote for the same people. We want something different but we give our permission to the same philosophies…because we don’t know what else to do. How do we shift something so stuck in the old ways?
We the People need to send a message. We need INDEPENDENT THINKERS; People loyal to finding solutions rather than a “party”; People focused on working together rather than the selfish battling for “power”; People willing to give voice to the “Middle”… where solutions are possible.
So what can we do? It occurs to me that perhaps one small step which may lead to something bigger – and in the least, it may begin to send a message that we want INDEPENDENT THINKERS, not “party puppets” – is to begin registering en masse as Independents or “not-affiliated” (or some similar choice). The number in this category is already on the rise but why not make it a mission? Why not make it a part of a proactive movement to affect change? Why not take our attention and power away from political parties and place it on the issues, multi-perspective based solutions and those who are willing to THINK INDEPENDENTLY?
This doesn’t mean we can’t vote for anyone party-affiliated…but it does mean that we start to demand…and send the message…that parties must begin appealing to the majority “middle” rather than forcing a nation to choose between extremes – or risk extinction.
Many of us may already be registered INDEPENDENT…or perhaps we’ve been silently protesting by not registering at all. I sense that a mass movement to register INDEPENDENT may be one small way for the “Middle” to begin demanding the attention it deserves. Solutions are not found in the extremes - though these perspectives should not be ignored. Agreement and creative answers are found in the “Middle”…and it’s time for the “Middle” to make itself known.
In Love with the Essence of America,