I posted a version of this in 2007. As I have been listening to partisan debates, distortions, and distractions lately, it seemed appropriate to review. I find it difficult to entrust leadership to people who call each other names, paraphrase other people's beliefs into less-than-accurate sound bytes, and attack each others characters and motives.
I would rather trust a person of reason and goodwill with whom I disagree than someone who is not courteous or balanced enough to listen to his or her adversaries.
We are in a troubling political climate and entering what may be a nasty campaign season. We will have to dig hard to get accurate information for decision making, but we must do so ... in politics and in life. We cannot depend on commentators or candidates to feed it to us ... we must listen to all sides.
We must do the same in business decisions and in all strategies.
I resist wearing labels such as "Conservative" or "Liberal" with an upper case "C" or "L" to describe my leanings. Sometimes I hear the word, "wing" attached to directional terms such as "left" or "right." I cannot tell you off the top of my head what a "red state" is as opposed to a "blue state" or why they are opposed at all.
Words like these are "deceptive," "misleading," "ambiguous," and "meaningless." But back to the wing metaphor. My grandson brought me one shoe to put on his one day, years ago. I sought to explain to him why he couldn’t go outside with one shoe on and what it might be like to feel lopsided.Then, I thought about airplanes and realized I wouldn't consider getting on a left-winged or right winged airplane. I prefer my aerial transportation with two wings. Balance means a lot to me at that elevation.
I read an interview with a guy today who thought he'd always been on the left wing of a theological issue. Then, he said, a movement emerged that went further to the left and left him in the center. When you are in the center, you might lean to one side or the other, but you are still in the middle.
What is most troubling about the way we debate issues in the public arena is the absence of two vital principles. The first is mutual respect (see The Golden Rule and the Great Commandment). We cannot function without this. We degenerate into a society that no one will what to call home.
The second is reasoned, careful, and balanced thinking that carefully weighs issues from multiple perspectives, thinks independently of "the herd," and seeks win-win solutions.
"Talk of the Nation" had articulate spokespersons for "both" sides of one of the pressing issues of the day several years ago that was before the Supreme Court. Both made sense and I felt a tug of "leaning" as each spoke and ended up in balance after weighing all the arguments.
Definitions are always in flux and that can be confusing.
I don't want to live in a one-winged society. I am not impressed with one winged philosophies and would not feel happy about a brain with a single hemisphere. I want a multitude of counselors helping me look at all sides of any question. This is true in politics, faith issues, business, and our day-to-day decisions.
Proverbs 18:17 says, "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him."
I think that is by design. Truth is simple, but not simplistic. The best course of action may not always be the most obvious. We need point and counterpoint to make good and wise decisions.
Perhaps that is why the American people as a body politic can be so shifting in their political party loyalties. As a people we know that you can't fly the "airline of state" with one wing - nor a business, nor a life.
If you are a decision maker, make sure you are getting good information and that all of your advisers are not always in 100% agreement. If you are not wrestling with some of the major matters that come before you, you are probably not getting the best out of your own abilities to think clearly and objectively.
We all have biases and they are helpful when they inform us. They are dangerous when they blind us. They are disastrous when the rule us.
Fly with both wings!
How do you fly with both wings?
• F - Face your own limitations in perspective, knowledge, and ability to know it all. There is a vast storehouse of knowledge that no human will ever possess. The only all-wise and all-knowing one is God and He ha distributed bits of His knowledge widely among diverse peoples.
• L - Listen carefully to what others are saying. Respect those with whom you disagree and who disagree with you. Consider that people who are wrong about one thing may have insight into something else. Never throw out babies with the bath wash or dismiss the value of people because of your prejudices.
• Y - Yin/Yang it. Sometimes, I pick up some insights from other philosophies. The truth of a given situation may dwell in the tension between paradoxical opposites and failure to look for it there will deprive you of the truth you seek to make a good decision.