A House Divided (?)


A House Divided (?)

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Quoting Mark 3:25, Abraham Lincoln spoke these words in reference to slavery in what became one of this most famous speeches. Fast forward to last week and our country appears to be deeply divided. Maybe it is, but there is danger in binary thinking. It reduces each side to a set of stereotypes and leaves little room for truly understanding the other's point of view. This approach to "news" is rampant. Issues are framed as black versus whites, men versus women, urban versus rural, educated versus uneducated, undocumented versus documented -- the list goes on. This polemic way of way of thinking has infected many. Unfortunately, this way of thinking leaves no room for empathy. How can we begin to understand another person's point of view if we've reduced them to a label or stereotype?

Issues have been framed and labels have been created based on ill-defined criteria and a penchant for making the other side wrong. We kid ourselves by thinking that as long as both points of view of shared, we are being fair and balanced. But what if we're taking an entirely wrong approach? What if instead of taking a point and counter point approach we instead try to understand the each other from a cultural perspective?

I believe the root of our differences are more cultural than political. If people feel their values, religion and way of life are under siege, they will go to extremes to protect themselves. We must get away from listening to talking heads and instead work toward better understanding one another. Empathy is what is needed. With it we can all live in the same house.