The 2012 election was a choice between a vision of a society where each person looks out for him or herself, or in one that shapes a community of shared responsibility to watch each other’s back.
“I got your back.” From the home to the sport field to the foxhole that is the mantra of teamwork and community.
I am sincere when I say that I love my country. I believe that most others are too. But if that is true why are we so divided about what is right for our nation.
The answer lies in the difference in our visions of what we believe is in our own best self interest.
One side of the divide sees its interest best served when the interest of all is well served.
This vision is of a community in which we function individually, like the eye, and the hands of the body, but which thrives best when all parts contribute their talent. When one member fails, it is in the self interest of the others, to support that member to become productive again.
It is an inclusive vision.
The opposing vision’s belief is that the human spirit soars best when free to rise, unfettered by obligations to the community, to reach the object of its gratification. The reward from going it alone providing the best incentive to engage in productive action. The consequences of personal failure is considered the best method of accountability to the group.
It is an exclusive vision.
This vision appears rooted in a fear of the other, whom its adherents believe will deny them their seat at the table, and in a fear of scarcity that they believe will deny them their access to resources.
But the results of this 2012 election show that there is a growing majority that is committed to the inclusive vision of a shared interest that benefits all. The questions regarding the paths to get there are policy, but the dedication to getting there is being accepted as our common destiny. In the presidential election years when a broader representation of the people vote, hope is being expressed in a shared fate that is made better when the common good is the common denominator.
Self interest is better promoted by a compassionate spirit than by an impregnable fence.
The journey to a perfect union begins with idealism, although it is very hard work that will move us towards the destination. And it is the ideal of us arriving there together that enriches the experience, and makes the hard work worthwhile.