Your Soul Food for the week of July 4th 2021: When We Open Our Minds, We Open Our World!
Happy Soul Food Friday for the Week of Independence Day!
- When We Open Our Minds, We Open Our World!
- Two Twice-Weekly Healing Steps for Independence Day
- Inspiring Independence Day Quotes:
When We Open Our Minds, We Open Our World!
We asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test. It turns out they have much more in common with other nationalities than they thought … It’s easy to think there are more things dividing us than uniting us. But we actually have much more in common with other nationalities than you’d think. At momondo we believe that everybody should be able to travel the world, to meet other people, and experience other cultures and religions. Travel opens our minds: when we experience something different, we begin to see things differently. Share this video, and help us spread the word – and open our world.
EDITOR’S PICK SONDERMANN | Two Twice-Weekly Healing Steps for Independence Day
On this 244th celebration of Independence Day, those on both sides of our country’s divide can agree on the depth of the split and the pervasive animus and ill will it has generated.
There will be little concurrence on who is in the right and who lobbed the first grenade. But at least there is a shared recognition of the magnitude of the schism, long in its acceleration and showing few signs of slowing down.
Of course, there are plenty among us occupying shades of the political center and less invested in the polarized enmity while reserving disdain for the noisemakers on both extremes. Though those on the hard poles are ever louder and more dominant in shaping what passes for public discourse.
Sadly, we live in a tribal era. That is true in many places around the globe and certainly in our republic approaching a quarter of a millennium in precious longevity. Over those years, there have been only a few times when the political fracture was so pronounced and disabling. One of those episodes produced an actual Civil War.
The inescapable irony is that our nation is far more integrated and accepting in so many ways while it grows ever more politically alienated.
Our neighborhoods and workplaces have never been more welcoming to people of all skin tones, ethnic origins, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, you name it.
Gay marriage is now fully legal with widespread, rapidly growing cultural acceptance. Interracial and interreligious marriage long ago ceased to be controversial except in the most close-minded quarters. But a lifelong, commitment between someone from the left and their beloved from the right? Whoa there.
Sixty years ago, a mere 4% of Americans approved of a marital union across racial lines. Today, that number is around 87%. Twenty years ago, a sizeable majority of Americans opposed gay marriage. Now, that approval number is above 60% and climbing quickly.
Meanwhile, depending on the survey and how the question is worded, between 50% and 60% of both Democrats and Republicans oppose the notion of their son or daughter marrying someone from the dreaded other party.
So what is to be done beyond treating Fourth of July fireworks as ordnance to direct at your neighbor with the objectionable yard sign?
The suggestion here is to own the problem and, each of us, our part in it, some with more role than others, and to focus on small, modest steps. This state of affairs did not come to pass overnight and it will not dissipate suddenly.
Incremental understanding will go far. What better time to start than on the celebration of America’s Declaration of Independence? New Year’s Day can have its resolutions often centered on personal improvement. For the Fourth, a personal intention can lead to civic healing.
With that in mind, and again starting small, let me offer two steps to commit to over this patriotic holiday. Both share a common denominator, that being to consciously poke a few holes in the bubbles in which most of us live.
Up first, declare an aim and make a plan to bring into your circle two new friends or associates of a significantly different political mindset than your own. Or reconnect with someone you disowned in a political uproar.
Seek these people out and find opportunities for interaction. Break bread; go for a walk; catch a ballgame. Most importantly, dial your ears up and your vocal chords down. Otherwise put, go into these conversations with the idea of listening far more than talking. And listen to hear and learn, not to rebut and argue.
Next, get started on a plan to do something very similar with your media consumption. Find two news or opinion outlets coming from a viewpoint alien to your own and make them a part of your media diet.
If you’re a regular viewer of Fox News, change the channel twice a week to MSNBC or CNN or even PBS. (Well, maybe not CNN. There are limits. But you get the idea.)
Do the inverse if your comfort zone is one of the liberal cable channels or the major broadcast networks. In this case, breathe deeply and twice weekly take in a dose of Fox News – again with a premium on listening.
For extra credit, consciously dial back on the television provocateurs on both poles. Turn off Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson on one end, and Rachel Maddow and Chris Cuomo on the other, in favor of shows with at least a pretense of balance and a lot less righteous smarminess.
Ditto for print journalism and commentary. If your home base is the editorial page of The New York Times, change it up a couple of times each week in reading publications and writers coming from a more conservative angle.
Similarly, if your normal fare is the Wall Street Journal editorial page or right-leaning online publications, challenge yourself to regularly incorporate columns from the left.
Media bubbles are every bit as confining as personal bubbles. If your rooting interest is with writers like David French and Thomas Sowell, read more by E.J. Dionne and Nicholas Kristof. Or vice versa. And make a point to read intelligent writers lacking a fixed ideological axis. Megan McArdle and Matt Taibbi are two worthwhile places to start.
That is a two-step program – two willful acts to begin to puncture our isolating, alternative-resistant bubbles. There is no expectation that anyone change their mind or their loyalty. But maybe some will gain an openness, perhaps even an appreciation, for those who think differently along with an understanding of how they came to their opinions and worldview.
What a leap forward it would be if we simply recognized that those on the other side of the divide do not wear horns. (Except for the shirtless guy with the furry hat who was part of the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol. That outfit definitely came with horns.)
All of this just might feel good in beginning to release the political blinders and partisan dependency that entrap us individually and poison our nation.
Eric Sondermann is a Colorado-based independent political commentator.
Inspiring Independence Day Quotes:
America isn’t perfect. We’ll always have work to do. But the freedoms we have here have made America a top destination for those seeking a better life, and that won’t be changing anytime soon. In celebration of Independence Day, here are 10 quotes on freedom and liberty that help us understand some of the reasons we fought so hard for our independence 245 years ago…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.” – Woodrow Wilson
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” – Samuel Adams
“If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.” – Malcolm X
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” – William Faulkner
“I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.” – Rosa Parks
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” – Abraham Lincoln
“We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something, for liberty and fairness. And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to.” – Ronald Reagan
“In America, change is possible. It’s in our hands. Together, I know we’ll get there. Look how far we’ve already come.” – Barack Obama
Hope you all had a fantastic 4th and that we all appreciate and enjoy our freedoms, now more than ever!
Thanks this week go to Kurt C, Bob C, & Doug W.
Please pay it forward!