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In Common

Jan 6th 2023 6 Min read Seymour Goode

As we've just completed the end of year Holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or other religious holidays and the New Year celebration, we've likely spent time with family and friends. During those great times we may have discussed “the kids” and their progress in life, who is dating who, the favorite sports team, vacations taken or planned and the weather among other things.

Most of the discussions are non-confrontational, since we don't really want to upset family and friends. We talk about the things that we have in common.

Generally, politics, we are told, is a taboo conversation during gatherings of family and friends. Why should it be? Remember, we have more in common than differences. Our elected officials have no small task to please everyone all of the time…which not only is unlikely, but impossible.

Stephen Covey, in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, states “seek first to Understand, then to be Understood.” Listen to other's positions to gain the understanding of how they feel about a certain topic. Be empathetic and seek their point of view. Remember that these are people that you (hopefully) love and respect. People like to be heard and understood. At the same time, there is a great chance that they will respect your opinion on the topic.

Usually, the “hot topics” are those that spur intense feelings, but, most likely, become tempered when you get to the details. Abortion, Immigration, Taxes, Infrastructure, Education. I have my own opinions on each of these and I am sure that you (the reader) have your own. We have certain rules and laws that have been put in place to address many of these “hot topics” and discussing the application of those rules and laws is important for us, as citizens, to understand.

We have laws on immigration. I am not against immigration. In fact, I support immigration, in that it can be a support mechanism for the growth of our community and country. I also believe that immigration should be managed properly for the safety and security of our citizenry.

I have my opinions on taxes, tax rates and for what the tax revenues are spent. In Bucks County, there are grants (money collected from the taxpayers) exceeding $3,000,000 for “health and education DISPARITIES”. I am sure that some of that money is expended on good causes, which you and I could agree…that is, if we find out the details and talk about it. More importantly, we'd come to common ground that some, or a lot of it, may be misspent. This is not a shot at our local government's attempts to make a better local community or economy. It is only to the point, that we would have more in common, than what separates us.

On a national level, the vitriol is only divisive. Divided we fall, but United we stand. We are all citizens of the greatest country on earth. There will always be fringe topics, BUT we must come to the common ground. When we have common ground, we can accomplish anything…and I suspect that we have more in common, than what separates us.