It is the time of year that our thoughts turn to ideals. I love the place we live. This is an unbelievably beautiful valley filled with a people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds. I would not have it any other way.
What I do wish for all of us in 2015 is that we commit to treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves. I am not asking for consensus. It is important to have multiple perspectives and ideas in our community. I am asking that we respectfully speak of and debate these ideas rather than treating poorly or demonizing those that believe something other than we do.
To treat others as we would like to be treated is not easy. When we angrily lash out it is likely that someone out there will lash back. It is surely my tendency. With those dynamics in play our desire will not be heard nor will our cause be forwarded.
We live in a representative democracy. With every vote it sometimes feels like one side wins and the other side loses. The polarity we complain of is of our own making. By treating others as we would like to be treated we open the channels of dialogue. It is during these conversations we might learn that it is the ideas a person espouses rather than the person that elicits our anger. We might, through compromise or, better yet, by offering a better idea, have our desires moved forward. If we play “democracy” as a zero sum game, without an exchange of ideas before a vote, we will either win or lose. It is a lost opportunity and an abdication of our duties as citizens and representatives when we refuse to speak to the other side and refuse to compromise.
We live in an amazing place. It is a small place geographically and in population. We can go the way of the larger world, sowing hate and making pariahs of anyone that disagrees with us, or we can say we will be different here. We will realize it is a battle of different ideas and it is not necessary to hate those that disagree with us. We can simply just disagree.
Courtesy is not just a good idea but the implementation of the Golden Rule. Each one of us in Salida has the ability to change our little world. I would love to see it.