There is so much digital chatter about a divide between two groups in this country that I call home. While I do see clear delineations on certain issues, there is more to the story. There is more to us, my fellow humans and I, than some cookie-cutter distinction between two groups for an entire set of issues. While I cannot speak for others, I can point out that I know a lot of wonderful people who adhere to some of the following, as do I:
I want health care to be affordable and accessible to all, regardless of preexisting conditions. I ALSO want a health care system that can respond to local needs instead of being controlled by the Federal Government, and one that does not bankrupt our economy.
I want my local law enforcement agencies to be sufficiently, or even abundantly trained, resourced, and staffed. I ALSO want every single person in my community who holds a badge and/or a position of authority to be held to the highest standards possible, with every abuse of power receiving just consequences.
I want tax-funded education to truly and relentlessly supply the opportunity for every child to discover, cultivate, and use their gifts. I ALSO want families to have freedom to make educational decisions for their children, since they know them better than the government does, without jeopardizing the overall health of the educational system.
I want every person’s voice to be heard, every person’s value to be seen, and every person’s contribution to be recognized. I want us to seek out and challenge every area where some humans are not being treated with respect and with care. I ALSO want the security of knowing that my community would never justify injury to my family or to my property in the name of righteous reprisal.
I want hard-working single moms and single dads to never have to choose between paying the light bill or buying food for their kids. I ALSO want careful, data-driven economic moves rather than knee-jerk, feel-good party lines that might actually stifle business instead of creating more jobs and higher wages.
I want a robust, effective immigration system that protects my children from those who do not believe in voting rights or term limits or education for girls or freedom of religion. I ALSO have friends who are undocumented immigrants who I would choose every day, any day, to work with and to trust before I would choose some individuals who can trace their family tree back to the Mayflower.
I want the freedom to take my children to Sunday School to learn about Jesus, and the freedom to professionally object to job tasks that are contrary to my beliefs. I ALSO want my fellow humans who do not share my beliefs to feel safe when they gather in their places of worship, or when they walk down the street, or when they ask for a day off for a religious holiday.
I could go on, but for now, I will rest in the hope that others understand my perspective or at least trust my desire for balance. Can we find a balance between justice and mercy, law and grace, security and charity, and progress and preservation?
I think the true Third Party in the United States is comprised of all of us who seek balance, integrity, and justice. It is all of us who, without a moment’s hesitation, would form a human chain to rescue a child in danger of being swept away by storm waters. We would not stop to label each other first. We do not have to compromise deeply-held beliefs in order to find common ground from which to show love and care for other humans.
The storm waters are here. Our children’s future is being framed. We need human chains.