There is one thing I miss from the hospital; talking one on one with patients. Believe it or not, the majority of them want to talk about politics or more broadly their beliefs.
There are two things we find out when we discuss politics with other people. Join me after the break and I share my experience and attempt to reinstall some hope into humanity.
The two things we learn when we talk politics with others are 1) not everyone thinks like we do and 2) some people believe some really far out stuff.
If discussing politics is uncomfortable, we aren’t doing it enough. Our beliefs constantly need to be challenged. How else can we determine if what we believe is sound philosophy if we haven’t actually seen the topic from all angles yet?
Throughout this election cycle I have witnessed many of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances that only surround themselves with like minded people. The idea of the other side is so foreign to them, it’s not a feasible option, it’s just wrong to them. They have already determined they will learn nothing from what an opposing view has to say. There is no progress.
The problem I have with this scenario is that if we aren’t talking to people from other walks of life, genders, generations, races, cultures, and economic backgrounds how do we know our beliefs are sound? Chances are that if we haven’t changed our mind in over a decade we’ve ceased evolving.
In health care our process is constantly being refined. We are constantly researching new evidence to develop best practices which in turn improve patient outcomes.
In my lifetime I have been extremely grateful to have come in contact with all the difference people I have met. From my time in New York City playing soccer on the piers and in the parks of New Jersey with a diverse group of characters to health care where I work with professionals from all parts of the globe.
All of these experiences help shape the person I am and allow me to relate to just about anyone I come in contact with. This brings me back to the hospital. One of my last experiences involved an African American gentlemen. He had CNN or some other talk show channel on and asked me who I wanted to see in the White House.
“Neither of them,” I replied.
He laughed and we had a surprisingly deep conversation about recent shootings, police brutality, human rights, race, accountability and what it would take to turn things around.
“I have four letters for you,” he said. “L-O-V-E. We haven’t tried love.”
Love is in short supply lately as I do my best not to reply to anything on Facebook. We make decisions based to emotion rather than logic more than we realize. It is hard to maintain perspective.
To make matters worse here in the States we have allowed ourselves to be separated and stratified into different classes. Educated versus uneducated. Black verses White. Man verses woman. Wealthy verses poor, and so on.
Unfortunately, this scenario only results in winners and losers. We’ve lost sight that we are all on the same team.
I wrote on Movember 7th how much of a fight it is to stay physically fit. I can’t begin to explain how much more of a (non-violent) fight it is to make life better for all.
I recommend getting off the internet message boards and talking to people face to face, start with neighbors. See how other people are living, challenge our beliefs, and seek ways we can help improve our communities.
Our beliefs did not die last night if our candidate lost (or was not represented), even though it may feel that way. Should we let them die, we lack conviction. If we are open and honest with ourselves and feel our beliefs matter, the fight goes on.
We cannot proceed with hate. We must find a way to articulate our message with love and see if conflicting views stand up to our scrutiny. We must find a way to make life better for all, not some.
My challenge to anyone reading is simple; do more than just vote. Don’t tune out for two years until the cycle renews. Find a way to make a positive impact in someone else’s life and improve our communities. Those of us who are able and do nothing, those of us who seek to divide instead of unify, those who spread hate, those people are the problem. Show them a different way.
Give love a try.