fist bump together

Moving Forward Together

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Regardless of who you voted for, I think we can all agree we’re living in a divided nation – a nation with two very different ideas of what the future should be. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”

Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together – that’s why I prefer to focus on how we can move forward together. The division may make that seem impossible, but I can assure you together, we can make it happen. Here’s how.

The key is to focus on shared values. Now you’re thinking; the division is so deep – what could we possibly have in common? I have a few examples.

  • Everyone cares about their children and giving them a bright future.
  • Everyone wants their parents and older family members to receive the care and dignity that they have earned.
  • Everyone wants a government that works—including keeping us safe, healthy, educated, and prosperous.
  • Everyone wants to practice their faith traditions or, if they do not have faith traditions, to practice whatever creates peace and well being for them.

See? We do have some things in common. While that may make us feel a little better, merely stating these examples doesn’t bring us together. So, like a Venn diagram, let’s focus on how we come together on these shared values of faith.

In my experience at Loretto, it starts with dialogue. We need a structured process of discussion on hard topics. Structured means there are a few simple rules – everyone agrees to respect each other’s point of view and focus on how they feel rather than what they believe. Let’s take freedom, for example. We all believe in freedom, but do I feel free now? If I don’t, what would it feel like if I did feel free, and what is one thing that I would do to create more freedom for myself and others?

It’s important to remember we have more that unites us than what divides us. Real change needs to happen, but we need to walk together. There is no shortcut to the hard work this country has ahead. As the African proverb says, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Let’s commit to going far.