What is America's Common Ground?
Updated: Sep 30
Americans feels perplexingly divided. Anxiety is ubiquitous. The air has a languor of angst. It seems we are a people who have no cultural commonality anymore, no moral unity. Despair and a sense of powerlessness weigh heavily upon us.
We are a nation that values freedom of religion—and freedom of speech, press, petition and assembly. Individuality and liberty exude from our essences, from within the intricacies of our DNA. Yet, how do we find unity in this creed gone wild? We desperately seek a person, an elected official, a savior to save us. We wring our hands and cry, “When will this mayhem end?” We look outside of ourselves for the answer. “Who will fix this?” As I have been pondering this thought it occurred to me, perhaps it begins with me...perhaps it, also, begins with you. As we yearn for peace and unity, as we feel overwhelmed with powerlessness, I realize that we do have a power. It is love.
Love is the seed, the energy, the gift, the goal. I write about it in my new book, The Pivot Principle, Finding Joy in Despair:
All you need is love,” the Beatles told us. “It is better to give than to receive,” Jesus taught us. Plato wrote in The Symposium, “Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature.” Since Plato is my favorite philosopher, I will quote another. He also wrote, “Love is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete.”
Self-love is essential, as well. It is hard to transmit something we do not have. This is a good lens with which to observe the inhumane things that are happening all around us. Does the perpetrator have any self-love—with which to love. Without the foundation of love we cannot imbue another person, our community, or our country with mutual charity, respect, honor and dignity. In the same way a smile breeds a smile, love breeds love. How can it not? It is the genesis of all things.
Complexity confounds the overarching goal to fix the problems that ail us as a nation. Ironically, the common moral ground that envelops all of us, and is one with which we can all readily identity and communicate—is love. We don’t need to elect someone to do it for us. We don’t need another person to fix this for us. We have the tool of love within our very being.
Love is our moral unity.
Without love, we have nothing. Without love, life means nothing. Love. It all begins with love.
Janine Turner The Pivot Principle, Finding Joy in Despair