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Paraphrasing a Bible verse, Abraham Lincoln said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. The nation was even more divided in 1861 than it is today. President Lincoln’s ultimate objective was to preserve the union. In 2020 we are strongly encouraged to pick a side. In today’s environment, “strongly encouraged” might be an understatement.

Friends are becoming enemies and family members are no longer speaking to each other. I can only imagine how those households will celebrate Thanksgiving. The stakes are high, emotions are very strong, and opinions differ greatly. These are the conditions that warrant the use of “crucial conversation” skills. If this world were mine, I would make the book, Crucial Conversations, required reading for every American. I’ve read the book and listened to it on Audible. The authors, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillon and Al Switzler do an excellent job explaining how this highly empathic process can help people resolve complex emotional issues. “Discussions are always better than arguments because an argument is to find out who is right, and a discussion is to find out what is right.” ( Putting the knowledge into practice is hard, but we need to put in the work to close the divide.

How can we love our neighbors if we are not speaking to them? For the sake of the nation, we need to get out of our echo chambers and do our parts to create a more perfect union. I saw a meme that said “pick a side. There is nothing in the middle of the road but dead armadillos.’ I disagree. I believe we can learn from the mistakes of great societies that were destroyed from within. The middle holds the sides together. We need to find common ground and resurrect the middle class.

Let’s put in the work to insure there is liberty and justice for all. Relationships work for those who work on them. A divided nation cannot stand. Without question, we are stronger together.