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Divide and Conquer

Part One—By building our own resilience we can rebuild our nation's resilience.

We are a divided nation. Few would disagree. Great Britain and other nations across the globe are experiencing the same problem. This kind of division can be destructive. It creates violence quite often and leaves us quite vulnerable.

Could all of this lead to another Civil War? It was over 150 years ago but it was the bloodiest war our nation has ever fought. Could this happen again? Perhaps. Can we bring our divided nation back together? I think we must, by building our own resilience and, through that, build the resilience of our nation.

What does this involve? First of all, I think it involves refusing to engage in the uncivil discourse we have been involved in in the last few years. Effective and productive communication does not involve threats, insults or name-calling. It involves actively listening to the other side even if we strongly disagree. It also involves remembering that the positions that people are promoting and often clinging to are based on emotion, not reason. Don't bother people with the facts. Deal with their emotions. Fear and anger distract people and distort their thinking. Help others to talk the feelings out. Ask them what they're afraid of. Deal with their fear. Don't avoid it. And ask them how they feel the present problems can be resolved? What would they propose? Listen! Allow people to vent. A lot of people have good reason to be angry and scared. We all should be experiencing some fear and anxiety right now given the present state of affairs in this country.

There are leaders on the right and on the left that use fear and anger to motivate their followers. Don't support leaders who make use of these tactics to manipulate.

Stay engaged and connected. This is hard at times. Don't isolate or withdraw into your silo or bubble. Pay attention to what is happening even if it's difficult. Don't assume you and your family will not be affected by the division in our land. You most likely will be affected.

But try not to overreact. Keep what is happening in perspective. Yes, this too will pass and if we come together and address our differences the impact of our differences does not have to be pervasive. We can together create a more positive outcome.

Don't engage in the blame game. No single person is responsible for the division in our country. We must all be accountable.

In our next post, we will talk more about what we can do to heal the division in our nation.