We have to. It is a matter of survival.
We are being pressured and challenged by Russia on one side, by China on the other.
They are both betting that we can’t pull together.
They are both convinced we’re in decline, that we have forgotten to compromise, that animosities will keep us apart and we won’t be able to build bridges.
We have scientists. We have builders. We have artists. We have technology. We have drive. We have natural resources. We have good people.
And yet, we have fallen on hard times because we have stopped talking. And when that happens then the hope for compromise fades.
The majority of the nation agrees that democracy is worth defending and affirming.
And at the heart of democracy lies the need to give and take. So, yes, the pace of change is slower when we compromise but the prize is freedom. Justice. Equality of opportunity.
Extremes are toxic. We have to avoid them.
The next time you come across someone with a different viewpoint, do not shirk from expressing your own. Fear not their anger. Express your view.
And if you find the opposing view absurd or outlandish remind yourself that most issues are complex, and that varying circumstances have shaped our views, and that it is absolutely essential that, regardless of how irritated we may be with the opposing view, we must retain our calm and composure and so avoid that our anger leads us to judging the person.
Let us keep our minds open.
China and Russia both have powers that can harm us. They are both dictatorships that severely restrict freedom of speech. If a person living there challenges the system they end up in jail or eliminated.
Their leaders fear freedom of speech for it can spread to others and endanger their hold on power. Xi Jinping has been president since 2013 and has arranged to change the rules so he can stay in command. He even arranged for their legislative body to designate him ‘Historical Figure,’ like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping before him.
And so with Putin, who’s been in control of Russia since 1999 and has intimidated his nation to extend his term til 2036.
There are reasons why we have term limits for President in America. It prevents corruption. It allows for other views to emerge and be considered.
Today, Russia is threatening to invade the Ukraine. Is Ukraine a threat to Russia? No. But Putin fears that if Ukraine veers toward freedom, then other countries under his thumb will also try to better themselves.
China has squashed democracy in Hong Kong. They can’t stand the fact that Taiwan, after much struggle, has become a free nation. So they aim to invade it and bring it under their control.
We, in America, have freedom. Talking to each other, making the effort, is essential to keeping it. Anyone who refuses to reach out to others is toxic to our system.
Freedom is based on dialogue, compromise and bridge building. And all of us, every one of us, needs to do their part to preserve it.
Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net. also on anchor.fm, apple, google podcasts and buzzsprout