November TIP: Befriend Your Political Opposite
This past Sunday, the readings were about how Solomon, when given the choice to ask for anything from God, he chose wisdom. Biblically, wisdom is knowing the will of God. And because the will of God is that we all find closeness with Him through friendship and love with each other, wisdom can guide us towards a beautiful world!
So, what connects Biblical wisdom and politics? Well, we know politics shapes the world we live in. So, in many ways, a stable political environment can foster that very beautiful world if we are wise.
I grew up in a Catholic immigrant family. Early on, we learned to admire the great qualities of this country, how it opened its doors to immigrants who could participate in the American Dream, and the fact that you could have two different political parties compelled to work together for the good of all, through balance.
I grew up with a “work hard and you will be ok” mentality. And it was quite right. I worked hard, studied hard, followed the rules, took no shortcuts. I had a good job and met incredible people as we did amazing work together. I learned that nothing comes for free, and that it is not all about me. I am blessed and know that my duty is to bless others. I pray to God because I know I am not perfect and need help and gratitude. I consider these ideals treasures from a conservative background.
As an adult, I began to attend yoga classes, and would often stay and chat with acquaintances after. At first, it took a lot for me to stay still and listen to their opinions. However, as I came to call them friends, I began to develop more empathy and patience when I disagreed.
This is when my overall political views began to shift, and I believe, I started to gain some deeper insight, or wisdom.
And it was because I had befriended my exact political opposites.
Now, I’m not about to say that these yogi friends knew what they were teaching me. And I’m not about to say that I agree with everything they would preach.
Of course, oftentimes, my yogi friends were a hard group to listen to. Sometimes I would leave yoga class feeling so judged by the very people who claimed to be so tolerant. But I know they were just saying their truths.
Lately, however, I have had a hard time finding overwhelming “tolerance” on either side of the spectrum.
And this is why:
Because now, I am not just a liberal or just a conservative.
I am both.
Although I value the rational mind, it is nothing without the human heart, and unfortunately, the political landscape has lacked both as of late..
So… who do I vote for this November?
I find myself going back to what has made and continues to make America great: diversity and balance of power. It is not because of a president or a political party.
It is bigger than that. Deeper. And I believe, a little bit wiser…