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Come together, right now

by John Strand | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | October 9th, 2019

Greta Thunberg and wet plate photographer Shane Balkowitsch waiting for the wet plate magic - photograph by Chad Nodland

As a country of people truly and clearly divided, it would appear there’s a moment’s reprieve coming. Folks are starting to take note of the disheveled state of our state and are bemoaning that we need to get along better and quit all the nasty bickering.

Well, hear, hear!

Without pointing fingers of blame, we all need to move past the truly toxic conversation that has become an apparent new low standard of decency and behavior. Truth is, people on every side of this divide need to yield and aim for a respectful discourse and dialogue. There has to be an agreement to simply start coming to agreements, plain and simple.

The country is torn. Our sense of self is unhealthy, our sense of each other, suspect. Our sense of a better tomorrow, who’s to say?

There’s no shortage of finger pointing going on. People blaming each other. Social media posts laden with poison. Family conversations cut short because our differences are so seemingly insurmountable.

Some pundits suggest that these United States of America have never been so divided. But that’s not to say we can’t turn our boat around and aim for better destinations.

One of the greatest tactics in warfare is to get brother fighting brother. Fratricide. We tear each apart and pull each other down while our real enemies watch from a distance with glee.

Yes, we have a plethora of issues and challenges to face and address. In most instances, those situations are people-created and therefore, one would logically think, they can be people-solved as well.

Climate change, for example. Rather than vilifying those people on the planet who are crying out for structural and systemic change so as to minimize or preclude an environmental imbalance, why don’t we simply listen to each other and try to find common ground?

Who on earth could ever rationalize NOT doing our best to take care of our environment, our planet, Mother Earth? When and if there are things we can do to possibly mitigate future harms to our lives and living space, why wouldn’t we have those discussions?

Here in North Dakota we get more than a little defensive when so-called environmentalists attack the coal and oil industries. No surprise, we have become dependent on those income streams. The good news, however, is we have more solar and wind than we’ll ever have coal and oil.

So let’s talk about that future, the new industries and jobs created, the potential gains to the ecosystem, and how to get there, plain and simple. We can make this a win-win if we so desire.

Humanity is incredibly resilient and innovative. Invention is the mother of invention as the saying goes. It’s time for all of us to aim for a better ideal reflection of our collective self. It’s time to put the pettiness aside and make way for constructive dialogue, creative problem solving. It’s time for us to say, “Enough, already.”

Some fights are simply not worth it. Most, in fact. Our personal decisions moment by moment will only improve if we distance ourselves from those toxic conversations and arguments. Smile instead of frowning. See hope where others see despair.

Take your personal power back and put it to good use.

Turn your cheek to negativity. Don’t make a home for it in your own personal space, emotionally, spiritually, physically. See good in others as opposed to seeing fault and wrong.

There’s a whole world out there to honor and to celebrate. There’s a multitude of people to love and to embrace.

Our problems are in fact our opportunities. Rather than succumbing to our fears and differences, let’s face them head-on with an optimism that could not be more American and could not be more timely.

Future generations will measure us by our results and right now that’s not looking to be a pretty picture. The time for action is now and the place to start is within each and every one of us.



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