Vail Daily column: Find common ground to help us move forward
October 15, 2016
I think it is important to remember how humans among all the other species that roamed the Earth, dinosaurs, elephants, whales, etc., became the most powerful ever — transferring knowledge. Our ability to develop language and communicate knowledge from generation to generation inevitably becoming so successful, that now there is a major population crisis on our hands. We are amazing, this one human species, but we did not get where we are today because one person figured everything out. It required humans from all walks of life to assist in our success. Our ancestors did it together, and that is how we have to do it also: together — through listening, understanding and compromise. If you would like to dispute this, then your problem solving ability is problematic, and you probably don't know people and live in world of only those exactly like you.
This election cycle has proved a country as divided as I have ever seen in my fortunate time here. The differences shine very apparent to me, as I was raised in rural America and lived in the city. This allowed me to understand the low-income conservative ideals that stand strong in an aging and dwindling rural population, as well as begin to learn the value of liberal, mostly urban ideas and plans, that are hoping to shape the future. Both these groups are unequivocally important yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Small-town humans across America are being labeled unaccepting and out-of-touch, uneducated and disgruntled. Urban humans in-large are considered free loaders and unpatriotic, entitled and greedy. Of course, none of these accusations are true on the whole (obviously exceptions along all lines exist). Overall, these two important realms of our environment have been shaped by politicians and lawyers that are out of touch with the populations, and I believe these groups have more in common than the conversations we are having represent.
Unfortunately, we have gotten to this point because we have forgotten what made us the most powerful species — transferring knowledge. Communicating through listening and understanding each other and voicing what is important to us in a practical manner. Nobody gets what they want through force or overreacting, and that is a good thing, I think. Realizing that our situation is not the only situation to consider yet must always be considered. Being smarter does not mean you have a louder voice; having more money doesn't mean you get special treatment; being larger doesn't mean you get your way; being white or black, woman or man, does not mean you deserve anything special. We are all humans and we need to respect each other wholeheartedly, entirely, always.
Yes, I get it, the politicians, have failed us all. The wealthy have succeeded maybe too much. The "used to bes" want it back the way it was. The hopeful future wants it now. The comfortable just want everyone to get along. The separated want retribution. The violent want war. The religious want answers. The youth want technology. The poor want help. The addict wants drugs. The aging want everyone to listen. The list can go for oh so long. We are all different, but we are all here, now, together.
Transferring knowledge in an effort to find compromise is not just an idea, it is something real that has been used to actually move mountains, and can be used to save a planet. It requires balance — listening as much as talking, understanding as much as needing, and respecting as much as resisting. Together, there is no problem too large.
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If we bring up the largest issues every time, of course we are going to have trouble coming together and we will get stuck, or worse, every time. Let's keep those conversations going, but let's get started with the things that we can agree on. It seems there is wide lateral support for a number of issues down the ladder, so let's just start there, even if it's small and for nothing more than a moral booster. For example, term limits for Congress, minimizing special interest groups, repealing Citizens United, empowering the middle class, pushing back on processed and unhealthy foods. These are all good examples of items that can find support in large populations across political lines. Problems are difficult to solve between people and always have been, but fighting to the death is not socially accepted anymore, and so we need to learn to communicate — together.
"Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together." — Paul Ryan.
Koye Carlstrom lives in Edwards.