Image via Sun Gazing

I am hopeful for our planet. I believe we have the capacity for unity and great goodness.

I am disturbed by the animosity, anxiety, and polarization surrounding the 2012 elections here in the United States.

This election is not about a cause that people care deeply about.  It’s not about great ideas to address the very real issues we are facing.

Each party has worked hard to cast the other candidate as evil, and this election is about how to keep the opposition out of office.

We have become polarized because we have focused too much on our differences and forgotten our similarities and shared concerns. We can’t come together to solve problems because we have been too busy pointing fingers and arguing.

I was encouraged when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated that Barack Obama was “outstanding to deal with” in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Even though Governor Christie is a Republican, he didn’t play politics. I am sorry that instances like this are so rare these days.

There has been too much propaganda flying around creating a state of fear. Too many emails, postings on Facebook, news commentary… Even the debates were thinly veiled attacks, not substantive. The entire tone of these elections has been overridden with animosity, and it will be our undoing if we don’t move beyond it.

“When leaders use fear as a motivator, they shut down people’s brains and create the conditions for everyone to fail.” ~Meg Wheatley

If we are to be a United States, we need to remember our commonalities.

We need to stop feeding on fear and use our rational minds to talk about what we care about, what we want, and how we can best work together to solve the very real problems we face.

At this point, the candidates are not going to give us that. We will continue to be bombarded with fear-based messages for the days before the election.

It is up to each of us to rise above the negativity and reconnect with what we care about for our shared future. To think intelligently about the issues at hand, not reactively. And to remember that our similarities outweigh our difference.

It’s time to do it now.

… So when you walk into the voting station, you can be guided by what you believe in, not what you are afraid of.

So after the elections, we can find common ground to work together to address our concerns and move forward together in shaping our shared future.

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