There is upset and imbalance in our community. As the editor of the local paper, I see it in letter headlines as well as emails and conversations that I can’t repeat because they are off the record. The upset is between liberals and conservatives – or at least that is the issue on the surface. The deeper issue that two different groups are failing to communication. The solution is lunch.
Full disclosure: This is not my idea. It’s from Elizabeth Lesser in her “Take ‘the other’ to Lunch” Tedx talk.
Her plan to have effective dialogue was to go eat food with someone you disagree with and ask them three questions:
• Share some of your life experiences with me.
• What issues deeply concern you?
• What have you always wanted to ask someone from “the other side?”
We live in a liberal community. Look at the 2016 presidential election: 66.57 percent of island voters placed Hilary Clinton on the ballot compared to the 24.95 percent who voted in favor of Donald Trump. Our paper often reflects the liberal majority. I hope readers see that we are also opening our minds and ears and that we are not ignoring conservatives on our islands.
On the front page this week we have stories about a republican and a democratic event. In the center of the front page we have a profile about a 911 dispatcher who has served the islands. I am satisfied that this week we have a front page that tells a fair and honest portrayal of our island communities. It’s a story of two political parties trying to educate others but also the front page acknowledges the individuals who do so much for others and their party line is often invisible in the text of the Journal. The republican event’s speaker and former CIA agent Herb Meyer advised island conservatives that: “We are on the winning side if we hang in there, if we keep our good cheer, if we treat the other side with respect and dignity.”
Let’s all join in that effort and if you disagree with someone, ask that person to lunch and see what happens when you listen and share words. This is a simple solution.