Americans disagree a lot on issues

Wow, what a week in politics. As I watch these events unfold and the partisan bickering and maneuvering I am tempted to just bury my head, or run away and not listen to any news. Honestly sometimes I catch myself becoming afraid for my country and what its future is going to look like.

But I want to share a lesson I have recently learned or at least remembered and I will start by talking about my experience as a volunteer task force member for Oregon’s Office of Outdoor Recreation, OREC for short. I am one of four people from private enterprise on the task force, the rest are state employees or members of nonprofit special interest groups or elected politicians. Suffice it to say the way we business people approach a problem is a bit different than how the other members approach a problem. I am not saying one way is better than another, they are just different. When I joined I was told the process would be at a much different pace than I was used to and I promised myself I would use it as a learning opportunity and not become frustrated. Also, I admit I had a notion in my mind about how state workers and the elected politicians would be like.

Here is what I have learned. Yes, things take a long time to get done and political correctness is at the top of everyone’s mind but the biggest thing I have come to appreciate about all my fellow members is how sincerely they want to make the world a better place. I am humbled by that, I have spent my entire adult life as a merchant and have not thought anything other than making money to be successful and making sure you all have jobs and a paycheck that doesn’t bounce. My fellow members work years trying to get one piece of legislation done that does not benefit them directly at all. They are sincere.

That my fellow teammates brings me to my point. As Americans we disagree a lot on some major issues and I find myself wondering how can people not see the world the way I do? I am a thoughtful even handed person who doesn’t go to extremes so how can anyone disagree with me? The point I have to keep reminding myself about is that the person who disagrees with me probably has to him or her a very valid reason why they believe the way they do. It is not because they are gullible, or ignorant or mean, true, some are, democrats and republicans alike but mostly they are not, they just sincerely believe differently than I do. It has always been that way in America, we can be a quarrelsome lot but mostly we are generous and kind and love our families no matter what side of an issue we are on. When I remember that, I am not afraid any more.

Have a great weekend everyone and since I won’t talk to you again till after Christmas, Happy Holidays


When I get like that, I try to remember my reading of US history. I don’t remember if I have mentioned it before but about 10 years ago I decided to read the biography of every American president in order from George Washington on to Ronald Reagan. I stopped there because I have lived through the presidents since then. What I didn’t realize when I started that quest was that it was going be a great history lesson of the United States basically in chronological order and presidents are generally right in the middle of whatever it is.

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