Sunday, November 11, 2012

Radical Acceptance

Over the past 6 months, the media machines dominated our psyches with finger pointing and petty drama. And then election day came and went...leaving  behind the bitter sting of rivalry.

Now people (among both parties) are frustrated and feeling all the more divided.

Once in motion, the blame game is hard to unwind.

But our country is still facing plenty of serious systemic issues: job growth, education, environment, public health, and global diplomacy.

Sadly, there isn't a magic wand or fairy godmother to fix it. How will we ever mature enough to swallow our pride and move on for new solutions?

The only cure is a strong dose of radical acceptance.

No, don't worry—I'm not straight up saying accept Barack Obama as president and get over it. My call for acceptance is a call to meet in the middle. It means striking balance. It means transcending political agendas to create new game-changing strategies.

In the ideal scenario, we'd learn from setbacks, survey the situation as it changes, take a different approach if necessary, and evolve. No, this isn't easy. It's complex and can only be done via collaboration (with clear thinking and sans judgement).

And who cares if a solution comes from a democrat, a republican, a 15 year old, or a transient? What matters is: what works and how can we implement it?

Clearly, the world has changed drastically, and the institutions of yester year out of touch. Here's a great article by Maureen Dowd in the NY Times describing just how out of sync our politicians are.

Our bureacratic systems need to hurry to pick up the pace. There's no crystal ball and we're guaranteed to hit bumps along the way. But that's okay because growth hurts.

An example of good government. Seattle Mayor McGinn hosts town halls around the community (including the poorest) to learn about issues affecting the people. And actually does something about it.  

Our definition of radical acceptance should be to give the basic respect for other points of view, and not dismiss them simply because they go against the grain. We need to recognize that there are issues we will never agree on, but we each have a right to autonomy and the right to an opinion (but not all opinions are smart opinions).

On this fundamental foundation of respect, we can bring down walls to bring out the best in each other.  And by doing that, then we can discover the third way which isn't my way  or your way... it's the BEST way.

Even with our differences, we're still one huge dysfunctional family. As my Uncle Jim says, “You can pick your nose, but you can't pick your relatives.” Well, at least we can agree on that!

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