There are three beautiful, bright, thoughtful, well-educated brothers. As a group, they are a little bit older than my own children. Now, these brothers are very active in the arts and in public life, conveying through their words and deeds a great concern for our country, for our world, for those who suffer. They were raised by a father who is a lawyer and a mother who is a poet -- a combination bound to produce some pretty amazing individuals.
My own three children -- two girls and a boy -- are also beautiful, bright, and well-educated. They are also very concerned for the well-being of our society, for the poor and oppressed. They wish to alleviate the suffering they see around them, hoping to live their lives in a way that will be a force for good in the world.
I see these two groups of siblings, lovely people all, and I see that they all hope for beauty, truth, and goodness in their lives and in their civilization. And this is something else I see: they are on opposite sides of the political fence in many ways. But, not in all ways.
Could they ever sit down together and discuss their hopes, dreams, and fears for their own lives, for their own culture, for the cultures of other peoples? Could they see what unites them? Could they really listen to each other when discussing their differences, so that even if they don't agree, they could at least have compassion for each other? Could they see a way through these differences so that the people in our very diverse society could live together in a peaceful way, with everyone's rights and beliefs respected? Is this possible?
I sure hope it is possible. I fear the consequences if it is not. Because, right now, I am seeing things in my country and in my world that make my stomach ache. I see people so entrenched in their belief systems, on both sides of the fence, that no one is willing to give the other the benefit of the doubt. I see statements being taken out of context and people being accused of having evil motives. I don't see many individuals who are willing to calmly listen to opposing points of view. What I am seeing is a society tearing itself apart, with each side blaming the other for the tearing.
And in my heart, I see these two beautiful groups of siblings -- different, yes, but all wanting goodness, fairness, freedom, justice. I do not want to see them at war with each other. They have all been raised by parents who love them, who have provided them with good educations, who want them to bring light to the darkness. May they find a way to do this together, in spite of their differences.