Two veins of thought running here.  Which one will I go with?  

I’m listening to a little Citizen Cope after a heated discussion and wondering if it will bring the temperature down.  Naw, but it is mellow especially when followed with Jack Johnson (not everyone’s favorite, but I’m fond of him.)  

Which brings me to the nature of the discussion with my neighbors. Disagreement and politics.  As a nation we chose our president this week (congratulations Obama!) and as the state of California we voted on a myriad of emotion charged issues.  Now folks get to sort out their high emotions and put away the attempts to convince, maybe, and hear one another out on why they cast their votes where they cast them.  

Campaign season was rough and full of convictions and condemnations.  I chose to stay away from the media fray as much as possible.   There are some things that I view as persistent but avoidable forms of undesirable input. Advertisements fall pretty high on my list.  I mean the ads for cars, whiter teeth, slim figures and quick solutions in pill or bottle form or whatever prepackaged “You are the center of the universe” American Dream stuff gets flashed at you every six minutes on tv.  

Ads weren’t the only input I was avoiding this election season.  They’re just the standard fare.  The news shows however.  Sheeze.  Are you disheartened  by adults behaving badly too?  Grown adults in suits and skirts with hair in place treating each other to heaping servings of complete disrespect. And the formula of political news shows seems to be that each person is given enough time to say something that really get the other person/people angry and not enough to time or lack of interruption to convey a clear line of thought. This isn’t discourse, this is cacophony.  What to do?  Turn it off?  Flee!!

And so back to where I started.  My neighbor, to whom I immediately gravitated upon meeting (he must be my cousin Nate’s long lost twin), and I had a post election discussion tonight.  We still disagree on the same political points, no surprises there, but I feel like I understand where he’s coming from and where the points of disagreement lie a bit more clearly now.  And I also found common ground in the midst of where we disagree.  I think our discussion helped us to refine one another’s reasoning on the whole situation called voting, ethics, conviction and all.  Well, I can’t speak for him, but the discussion was redeeming for me.  And the sweet thing is that I feel relationally safe in our strongly felt disagreement.  No one declared the other a fear-monger or demon, heretic or hater.  These sorts of discussions could end that way.  

So my thought is that we can work on being safe people with whom to enter into disagreement and discussion.  And as Obama steps into the presidency, we each will be getting the chance to discuss differences and points of commonality with the celebrating and the disappointed.  And hopefully we’ll be taking and making opportunities to put our voting convictions into daily action as well as engaging in conversations to find and develop common ground with those holding varying views.  Here’s to conversations in which we can listen and give space to understand other’s convictions and motivations and graciously communicate ours.  That’s my polemic for pursuing reconciliation and forward movement in the midst of the post-election fray.    

And one more thought.  Many people of prayer have rallied over this election.  So to people of prayer, let’s keep persisting in prayer for the world, our politics and our president regardless of how we all voted.

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