I am reading a book titled “The Miracle of Freedom” where the authors Chris and Ted Stewart discuss the relative rarity of a free society. In the book, they point to seven events that they refer to as “tipping points” that led to the birth of the United States and the growth of freedom and democracy throughout the world. These tipping points are major historical events that changed history by stopping the spread of tyranny providing fertile ground for the growth of liberty.
The beginning of the book discusses the relative few people from the beginning of civilization that have lived in freedom. The author’s estimate that around 500 billion people have lived on Earth since the beginning, and of that figure, only about 5 billion have lived in freedom. That’s only 5% of the civilized societies since the beginning of civilization. And the majority of the 5% have lived in the last couple of centuries! The author’s also share some chilling short story descriptions of what life has been like in other societies over time outside of the blessing of freedom.
The union of the United States is very special and rare among civilized societies. Additionally, the United States has also been a model for many other counties in their quest for freedom, and a catalyst for positive change in the world. I believe that we take our freedom for granted. We are often quick to criticize our government and legislators and expect them to solve systemic problems that cannot be solved by government. As leaders in our homes and workplaces, we need to be very careful not to join in caustic and polarizing political debate. This type of debate threatens to tear our Union apart. As evidenced by the authors above, this country is unique and special and needs to be protected by the people who are to govern and lead this country. Certainly there must be some common ground that we can agree on? The current polarization of the country will not lead to anything but continued bitterness and division.
What can we do as leaders? Do we completely avoid political discussion and debate? I don’t believe that we should resort to being silent. There is a way to have a proper debate and discussion. Here are three points to remember:
- Consider The Other Side. There are always at least two sides to every issue. We should not immediately dismiss the argument that is contrary to our typical thinking. There is generally some common ground that can start a constructive dialogue.
- Retain Respect. Refrain from name calling and using superlative descriptions such as never, won’t, always, can’t etc. Work to keep the discussion going by maintaining civility and respect.
- Be Realistic. Don’t expect that you will get everything that you want. Be willing to compromise and negotiate in order to reach an agreement. Avoid all or nothing propositions.
By demonstrating positive debate and effective negotiation, you are modeling a willingness to compromise and join together to solve problems instead of the divisive discourse that we have been witnessing for the last few years. We have something very, very special in the United States. We should be proud of our country and what it stands for in the world. The goal should be to strengthen our union, not divide and isolate. As leaders, we need to work together to encourage constructive debate so we can move forward and work together to strengthen our rare and special Union!
What do you think? PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!
2 responses to “The Divided States”
This is something that everyone should try to do in our lives whether we’re leaders or not. You can use those three points in everyday life. Instead of always assuming one thing about a person or situation, think beyond. A person who is driving 20 miles below the speed limit may have almost had an accident and is trying to settle down (Consider the other side). Name calling isn’t going to make that person go any faster (Retain Respect.) Try to understand, and when you get the chance, go around (Be Realistic.) If we practice these three principles in our everyday life, we may be more able to make it through this next year and the upcoming Presidential Election!
Thanks Cindy! We are all leaders- this is the message that this blog is all about. Whether its your home, work, church group or your family we all have opportunities where we lead. Don’t underestimate your impact on others around you! Thanks for the comments!