Closing the Great Divide

Two men arguing, in black silhouette

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.

  1. Spending time with family.
  2. Being outdoors and experiencing nature.
  3. 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.

8 thoughts on “Closing the Great Divide”

  1. Merry Christmas Lisa, (and Cuddles)! I enjoy the blog immensely and looking forward to it’s return in 2023. Have a great time away and relish the downtime.

  2. Merry Christmas Lisa and family. Have a safe and relaxing season. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and I will look forward to reading your posts in the New Year.

  3. Hi Lisa,
    A thought provoking last post for 2022. Considering the daily drama of the politics of our American neighbours, it makes me thankful to have been born a Canadian!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family and enjoy your down time! Cheers to a Happy New Year!

  4. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas Lisa. All the best for the New Year. Enjoy your time away and thank you for all you bring. ❤️Xo

  5. Seasons Greetings to you and your family and may you have a very safe and happy holiday as we reach the end of another year of enjoyable posts. As someone once said, I’ll be back!

  6. Happy trekking Lisa and Derek! Re “alike”… it always comes down to greed. Throughout the ages. Growing up in ‘South Detroit’ the Canada/US border meant nothing to me, and I slid constantly between two cultures and family and friends on both side (and then there’s my Newfie family, but that’s for another time lol). With our southern neighbours- their constitution enshrines the cult of the individual. “I earned it all by myself and I will keep it all for myself. Hands off my stuff.” Most Canadians (and the Scandinavians) know it’s not remotely possible to do it all by yourself. Our harsh climate and geography dictate cooperation and sharing. What divides people is either the desire to always have more or… to share the bounty. The popularity of the cult of the Kardashians and abject fascination with the supposedly wealthy Trump is all about the driven need to amass enormous wealth. And not share. Hence Trump avoiding paying taxes, otherwise known as “sharing,” to help build a decent society instead of living in the cutthroat “every man for himself” culture. Everyone is the same at birth, but after that… it seems to me nature is overridden by nurture.
    (Oooo. There’s the island side of me showing— that was after all a “Newfie rant!” I learned from the best my luv.)

  7. I like the idea of ending the year on a positive note! A great tradition.
    You know me — I think empathy is the answer to everything.
    I do believe there are leaders who actually want to extinguish empathy, because they know if we find common ground with other folks we will be less likely to vote for them.
    And your memory is not playing tricks on you — there was a time when elections were lost and there wasn’t so much drama about it. The world still turned. This is why the teaching of history is so important.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *