Variety on Earth Day
Earth Day, celebrated this past Sunday, moved me to consider the variety of nature. Mother Earth’s natural abundance truly is amazing when we consider all of life she supports. It seems appropriate that every April 22ndwe set aside time to appreciate this rock we all live on.
Umair Irfan and Eliza Barclay of Vox note Seven Things We’ve Learned about Earth since the last Earth Day. Some things we’ve learned are positive and some are alarming. But even the seven items they identify are varied from each other, underscoring the reality that we live in a complex world.
Brian Clark Howard of National Geographic identifies 48 Environmental Victories since the First Earth Day. He points out that while humans may destroy, we also managed to clean up, preserve, and sometimes save our environment. Again, the idea of an abundant variety cannot be ignored.
Variety of political perspectives
Our nation’s political environment seems to have organically evolved into another complex reality. You may frequently hear how our nation has become very politically polarized between the left and the right, the progressive and conservative. It sounds like a simple diagnosis but it misses the mark.
Our political perspectives emerge from a variety of sources and forces and reasons. We use labels that identify us as either this or that, seemingly according to a binary choice. We are so much more than these simple labels.
Variety of humans
Since we’re talking about Earth and all of Mother Nature it supports, let’s begin with our DNA. Elizabeth Kolbert, again in National Geographic, points out that There’s No Scientific Basis fo Race – It’s a Made-Up Label. While we appear to be so racially different from each other, there are other DNA varieties that reveal we are more intriguingly complex than we have imagined.
Variety is what we are
Just as I am amazed at the variety of nature, the differences among all of us are stunning. I’m not talking here of simply differences of height and weight and age and gender. Our individual histories and upbringing and schooling and religious leanings should be enough to separate us into distinct tribes – right?
Then add in the differences we might each have over what we like. For example, do you like the same movies or music your best friend or significant other does? Do you like sports and, if you do, is it the same sport all of your friends prefer?
Since I’m now talking about people you like, why do you like them? Is it their sense of humor – their values – the clothes they wear? Do you cling to others around what they do for a living or a hobby? These various elements can serve to separate us as much as they might bring us together.
Variety seems to be one defining element that identifies what we are.
Out of many, one
E pluribus unum, (out of many, one), is our nation’s motto denoting how we are better in our variety than we are as a homogenous, single entity. No, we are not simply left or right, progressive or liberal. We are all of these plus much more.
So, if we are all so different, how do we ever come to a consensus in our politics? Rather than curse the darkness of our political mayhem, perhaps we should applaud the ever-present miracle that we make it all work at all!
We must acknowledge our variety
A recent book I’ve read, entitled, Treating People Wellby Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard has some sage words of perspective worth noting.
Ms. Berman and Mr. Bernard were White House Social Secretaries. Each served U.S. Presidents (Bush and Obama) of different political perspectives. They had to know a thing or two to do their job well. To succeed, they both say:
We refuse to assume the worst about those whose views differ from ours; we accept that they see the world differently not because they’re bad people with specious motives but because they come from another place and have another point of view.
It’s not easy to be you. I can’t be you. You’re much better being you than am I. And, you can’t be me. Likewise, it’s not easy to realize, sometimes, that others have a different perspective with different values and different political views. Each of us is unique!
Equal Voice Voting acknowledges all voters and every state
My point here is to encourage us to consider our variety — the unique “us.” This democratic perspective specifically comes into play whenever we elect our U.S. Presidents.
Yet, we hamstring our Electoral College with the winner-takes-all approach, solidifying the Democrat/Republican labels on a state-by-state basis. Minority votes are cast aside and the variety of our choice is lost. The voting results do not reflect who we really are or how we really vote. It’s well past time we shed this shackle and let the Electoral College serve us as intended.
Everyone’s vote should count and every state should matter when we elect a president. Equal Voice Voting acknowledges our voting differences – our innate variety – and gives a proportional result on a state-by-state basis. Let’s give all of us a chance to be heard when we vote.
Please share this with others and urge them to learn about Equal Voice Voting.