I suspect we don’t agree about guns rights and women’s rights to choose. Don’t worry, I won’t go there.
Did you stiffen though, with that first sentence, bracing for some liberal claptrap that adds up to coming for your guns? If you, who may disagree with me on hot button issues, started with guns and abortions, I’d be on guard. Relax.
My purpose with this letter is to redirect our attention to what we agree on, not our differences stoked by social media, TV pundits, and politicians who tell us we’re polarized as a nation, we’re heading for – or in – a civil war. I always ask: who wins if I believe this (fact, story, opinion). Question anyone who gains power or money by teaching you to hate and fear. Oldest game on the planet, and the people always lose.
I’m sure there are people here whose blood is boiling almost as hot as the 4th of July shooter in Highland Park. Can we turn the temperature down, not because we agree on issues, but because we agree on loving Whidbey, our kids, our patriots, our forests and our way of life.
I once joined a Monroe prison workshop designed by the Alternatives to Violence program to give inmates, some lifers, tools for dealing with their fury in less destructive ways. In one exercise, we were paired and told to come up with as many things in common as we could.
Imagine a middle-aged white liberal lady paired with a burly murderer, in for life. But we tried. Starting with eye color. Species: human. Macaroni and cheese. Hot showers. Ping pong. Once we got going, we were on a roll, and enjoying ourselves.
Let’s try that here. I may be different from you, but let me count what I think we might both love here on Whidbey. Love the beach? Mussels? Tobys? Coupeville pier? The forest trails? Shifty Sailors? Thrift stores? Being in, or out on, the water? The Fair? When the mountains are ”out”? Ebey’s Prairie? Your turn.
I’m not asking much. Just to consider that what unites us is greater than what divides us. Let’s not let the haters in the media and politics convince us to hate one another. Deal?