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Our country is facing many problems -- unemployment, hunger, and homelessness, to mention just a few -- and Congress seems unable to find a solution. What is the cause of this situation, and what can we do to work around it?
Elizabeth MacNamara has an interesting answer: part of the cause is the way we attach labels to each other, making it more difficult for us to discuss our common problems and propose solutions.
In a recent editorial she writes that these labels divide us: “Age, race, gender, education, socioeconomic status, geography, immigration status and religious affiliation are only some of the labels that impact our political views. For some, one single label defines our politics for all time. Others of us may find that a succession of labels motivates us throughout our lifetimes. Regardless, we are all united with or divided from one another to varying degrees by those labels.”
She then recommends the organization nolabels.org to us. They seem to have have a lot of good ideas on how we can get beyond these labels and join together in moving forward again. Civil discourse requires that we not pre-judge another person’s ideas, and problem solving requires that we discuss these problems with people whose ideas differ from ours. Let’s see if we can do that!