Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Kumbaya moment at Edwin Warner Park on Sunday


by Rod Williams - On Sunday, June 27th, I attended a picnic at Edwin Warner Park hosted by Braver Angels and Common Ground.  Both of these organizations are dedicated to bringing together liberals and conservatives to have civil dialogue and foster understanding. 

While I am secure in what I believe and don't think anyone can convert me to become a liberal and I doubt I will convert a committed liberal to my point of view, I think that this kind of interaction can be beneficial. 

In my view, we are too polarized in America.  Many have retreated to their corner and only interact with their own tribe. We too often live in an echo chamber and do not really know what people on the other side of the political divide think.  We only know what the partisans on our side tell us they think. We listen to only our news and get our own opinions reinforced. It is common to have the other side demonized and their view distorted or mischaracterized. 

When you actually talk to someone of the other political persuasion, you may find that there is common ground on some issues. You may discover that the other side has some valid arguments and concerns and everything is not as black and white as you may have believed.  Talking to someone of the other political persuasion may make you think.  If not, you may at least discover that people on the other side are not evil.  They may be uninformed or wrong; but not evil.  Even if you do not find common ground you may realize at least that you are adversaries, but not enemies.  

We enjoyed barbeque and lots of good side dishes and pleasant conversations and exchange of ideas.  We did not really sing Kumbaya.  I don't know most of these people in the photograph, but here are some that readers of this blog may know: A. Richard Upchruch; B. Don Moradian, a decent liberal and my brother-in-law; C. Gene Wisdom; D. Rod Williams (me); and E. Dr. Ming Wang. Also in attendance but arriving late and not pictured was Lydia Hubbel. 

Braver Angels conducts workshops designed to foster understanding between people of different political points of view and Common Ground holds monthly meetings to discuss current political issues.  Watch this blog for future announcements of events. 

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