Winning has become such a cultural imperative that we often miss the point of whatever it is we have won, whether a sport or an election or an argument. As my friend, Aaron, pointed out this morning on Facebook after election results came in, winning should be about achieving something and not just beating an opponent.
Maybe THAT’S part of the problem: opponents are NOT always enemies. Having someone challenge us in our thoughts or in a game of basketball doesn’t make them mortal enemies to be conquered–but that is the subtext of our cultural imperative around winning. Instead of civility, “good game!” Or “I will consider that idea”, we remain on the defensive, gloating about our win and preparing for the next battle with no room for consideration or compromise.
In elections, in our land where WE THE PEOPLE must forge the path of future freedom for the good of us ALL, I find it disheartening that “dialogue” around how to govern our land has turned into “derision” of our neighbors who don’t share our exact philosophies. That derision is divisive and corrodes the very democracy our forefathers and mothers sacrificed to give us.
After being in Russia a couple years ago and walking through the Kremlin that houses treasure centuries old, it became clear to me that strong countries CAN be broken–to the point they might not recover what they once were. In that land, I experienced a culture of suspicious people, distrusting and hungry for stability. Winning ISN’T everything, and for the sake of our own future as a country, it is my hope that we do a better job of developing dialogue, compromise and collaboration in our children so that future generations of Americans will continue to have a free nation in which to live and work.