Everyone talks about the many ways we are different. In a deliberately sweeping generalization, Liberals want everything to change and Conservatives want life to go back to the way it was. In this country, we don’t even know why someone’s flying our nation’s flag anymore. Are they showing pride in Canada, or making a political statement?
How would things be different if we chose to concentrate on our similarities instead of our differences?
Before the US Thanksgiving weekend, Pew Research polled Americans to find out what they felt gave them a meaningful life. They split the poll by political leanings, Democrat (Liberal) or Republican (Conservative). They found that no matter their politics, people prioritized the same things.
- Spending time with family.
- Being outdoors and experiencing nature.
- Spending time with friends.
Every answer except one was chosen within a couple of percentage points of each other.
Republicans are substantially more likely to say they draw meaning from their religious faith. (56% vs. 39%).Pew Research
Global Priorities are the Same
A global poll that Pew conducted last year also found mainly similarities when it comes to meaningful lives, regardless of where someone lives. People under 30 placed a high value on their family and friends. From 30-49, it was career. And after 50, health became a greater priority.
No matter where you’re from or what you believe in, you want your kids to have a great life. You’d jump in front of a speeding train if it meant trading your life to save theirs. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a bushman in Zimbabwe or a banker on Wall Street, those fundamental priorities hold true.
Perhaps it’s rose-colored glasses thinking, or the fact that my political awareness has developed over the years, but I remember election losses being less dramatic. If your side lost, you’d be disappointed but you’d make the best of it and plan to take back power in four years. Demonizing the other side helped no one. While you’d tout that your ideas were better, you’d roll up your sleeves and get to work.
There isn’t a single perfect solution to all our problems. Each side has had plenty of opportunities, and those issues haven’t all been fixed under Liberals or under Conservatives. Ever. But desk-pounding, disaster-predicting politicians of every stripe want us to think it’s possible – if only those ruinous, cheating, demonic jerks hadn’t stolen/lied/scammed their way in!
Life is complex and so is politics. Leaders disappoint and fail us. Desperate people lie to us. They disgust us. And then they go home to their families where they’re just Mom or Dad. People love them. They eat dinner, help with homework. Play board games and watch movies. They’re more like us than they differ from us, regardless of the polarizing things they say. I’m doing my best to hold this in my heart as another news day dawns.
This seems like an appropriate place to end my posts for 2022. With an upcoming week away and a deep desire to rest my brain, I’ll wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a healthy and prosperous New Year! Your visits here mean more than you know. Thank you.