President Biden is calling for national unity. Former President Trump is calling for GOP unity. As different as the two men are, both of them define unity as get in line with what they want, or you can go suck a rock.
I want a national unity of purpose, a unity of common goals and rational and honest ways of achieving them–together. That’s unity.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
Biden, Trump and others, whether or not they are calling for anything resembling unity, to include actions like “reaching across the aisle”, and “reasoning together” are simply choosing up sides. What they are clearly communicating is, “You are either on my side, or theirs.” and, “You are with me or you are against me.”
Here is yet another instance where we the citizens and voters must lead. As always, if we want to have better candidates and better office holders, we need to be better voters. Not just more voters as in get out the vote campaigns, but better voters, as in become better informed and more focused specifically on common goals and generally on what works. The bottom line is that creating unity is up to us.
The talk about unity takes on an ironic twist when we see actions like:
Intersectional Politics. For those who have lived under a rock with no Internet for the past few years, intersectional politics breaks us up into groups based on things like gender and gender preference, race, income, etc.–then declares certain groups and coalitions to be the enemy of other groups and coalitions.
Cancel Culture. Nothing like continuing to target individuals and groups for cancellation to promote unity.
Always Trump v Never Trump. Many Democrats are Never Trump. I am talking about the split within the people who voted for him, most of them twice. To the Always Trumpers, the Trump voters who criticized the former President for his various actions post election have suddenly become Never Trumpers. Mr. Trump himself, in his closing speech at CPAC, put 17 Republican politicians on what is essentially an enemies list. No unity here, not even internal GOP unity.
Tony Robbins, American author, coach, speaker, and philanthropist, sometimes uses an exercise at conferences to show us how much we have in common with others. With the attendees in a large ballroom like space, he will have them divide up along certain lines, e.g., characteristics or traits. For example, he will have all of the men go to one side of the room, and the women the other. (Back in the day, it was acceptable to have only two groups.) Then he would reshuffle the room, creating groups along other immutable characteristics like height or age, and chosen factors like religion, geography and politics. Each time, after the groups settled in a bit, he would have them meet and greet, discussing their shared characteristic or trait. There was immediate bonding, because they knew that they had at least one thing in common, and in the excited conversations they discovered more. Imagine for a moment if Tony had used these different characteristics and traits to pit them against each other, instead of using those characteristics to bind them together. The former, using who we are to divide us, is exactly what is happening everywhere. Many of the same people who are mouthing unity are focused, successfully, on dividing us. To their advantage. Divide and conquer is a powerful tactic. And a despicable one.
Today’s Key Point: We all find what we are looking for. If we want to find that our differences are inherently destructive, we will find exactly that. If we want to find that our individual and group differences are our collective strength, we will find that. What are you looking for?
There is only one thing that separates us when it comes to political thinking, and that can be dealt with if we are honest about naming it, and deciding to work on this core difference. That is the view that life is designed to be, the choice that life works the best, if it is either hard or easy–pick one. Let me be more specific:
Hard. The belief, that I share, that life is designed to be hard; that is how we learn to grow and succeed, and how we can equip ourselves to help others to learn, grow and succeed. The rules of life are simple, hard to implement and more than worth everything it takes to succeed.
Easy. The belief that life is designed to be easy, and if it is not, that you are a victim, worthy of compensation. The rules of life are nuanced, and hard to even understand unless you are privileged.
N. B. Unity does not arise from agreeing on everything; unity is created the moment we decide to address our differences civilly, factually, and in the pursuit of common goals. And common goals do exist. I will repeat my $100 challenge: find any area, no matter how controversial, where finding a common goal is impossible, and I will fork over $100. Cash. No need to wait for it to mysteriously show up in your account.
We’ll close with my $20B mistake. My numbers did not add up to $1.9T in my last episode on the currently contemplated stimulus bill; I was off by $20B–about a 1% error. Since when is $20B 1% of anything? I apologize for the error in my arithmetic, and I grieve for the enormity of the mistake we are considering with this stimulus.
What is your plan to create unity where you are? In your family? In local or national politics? Anywhere?
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:14
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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