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I have been looking at the two political parties and examining their core messaging. In one sense it boils down to Fear from the Republicans and Love from the Democrats. I realize I have taken a huge leap here, but bear with me.
Our Republican opponents have tried to use Fear in so many of their messages. Fear of immigrants, Fear of terrorists, Fear of LGBTs, Fear of Muslims, Fear of people of color. They paint all sorts of Others as people to be feared and themselves as the party who will save the exclusive, white, straight America their voters long for.
Democrats are saying in many ways that America wins and overcomes obstacles when we realize that we are all in this together. Each person matters and opportunity for all is what made us a great country and those same values can give us a better future for all of us. Another way to put the Democratic message is an inclusive “love one another.”
I am not holding my breath that the messaging from either party will be this stark, but I think it is true. If we decide to distrust Others, we limit our vision for how we can pull together to create a new and improved America for the 21st century. I also believe that if the ‘new and improved’ American Dream finds a way to include everyone, this country will be a better place for all of us.
The Republican desire to roll back the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and Medicare is a strong message that says, “You’re On Your Own. We will exclude you.”
The Democrats desire to expand health care and protect social security and medicare is a way of saying, “We’re all in this together. We will include you.”
I know which version of America I want to win and I’m volunteering like crazy to make it happen. It won’t happen all at once, but we’ve taken enough backwards steps already. I’ve had enough Fear to last me for the rest of my life. How about you?
P.S. I am a loyal listener of Krista Tippett’s On Being on Public Radio. Yesterday she played an interview with John O’Donohue, an Irish poet and philosopher. Somehow their conversation triggered this essay and I thought it appropriate to thank Ms. Tippett and to give her most wonderful show a plug.
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