Sharing Questions — and Answers

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In my last post I went a little deeper into the idea of sharing. From that came some very thoughtful questions, questions that are worth answering. I’ll give my thoughts, but I invite all of you to contribute your answers as well. I certainly don’t know everything.

Here are the questions:

What is the solution [to these different approaches to sharing]?

If you fundamentally believe in agency and personal accountability how do you compromise?

Because politicians don’t have the prerogative that parents have, what happens next after the people have been asked to play nicely?

When people decide not to share, what would a third political party do that a two-party system doesn’t do?

What political platform preserves the right not to share while guaranteeing the level of sharing needed to keep our country operational?

As you think about how you would answer these questions, and perhaps add some questions of your own, here are some of my thoughts for each question.

What is the solution [to these different approaches to sharing]?

It’s important to recognize that neither of these approaches are wrong. There is nothing wrong with expecting (or reminding) people to share and there’s nothing wrong with having a sense of ownership and deciding at times not to share.

The key is realizing that we need both perspectives, both approaches, in order to solve the problems we face as a society and within our communities.

So, the solution? Value both approaches. Don’t focus on one or the other, see the need for both.

If you fundamentally believe in agency and personal accountability how do you compromise?

The short answer is compromise. Agreeing with someone, even if it includes everyone sharing, doesn’t mean you have given up on your morals or values regarding the fundamentals. After all, sometimes you just gotta share, and sometimes you don’t have to.

Look for opportunities to see the wisdom in compromise. Stand with people who have arrived at good solutions.

Because politicians don’t have the prerogative that parents have, what happens next after the people have been asked to play nicely?

I need to add that there are good politicians out there. They don’t always get as much attention as the divisive ones, they are out there. I’m probably not always fair when talking about our political system.

I see your question more as “Can we trust people to play nicely?” Will we play nicely of our own free will? I honestly believe we can. But there’s another layer to your question. “How do we get people to share?”

The first way is to agree on a law that requires everyone to share.  That’s the most common and generally most effective way to make sure we share at least on the important things.

We run into problems when some people think we should share more and others think we should share less.  How do we get people to share when there isn’t a law requiring it?

I recently went to a rally about families being separated and for most of it I couldn’t help but feel SHAMED into helping, into sharing, into doing what’s right.

I later talked with someone who was turned off by the messages at the rally and she responded by placing BLAME where she feels the problem originates.  This is a natural response to feeling shamed… place the blame somewhere else.

When we feel frustrated and lack trust that we’ll all play nicely, we tend to try to force others by blaming or shaming.

How do we get people to share and play nicely? Inspire. Empower. Lead by example.

But does this really work? Actually, it does.

When people decide not to share, what would a third political party do that a two-party system doesn’t do?

This question requires a little more discussion about the two-party system and the other parties we currently have to choose from.

Our two party system has become a game of winning and losing. When one party is in power, they make sure to win on their issues, leaving the other party to feel like losers. When the tables turn and majority shifts, it’s a game of undoing the other team’s wins and turning their own losses into victories. This current administration is no different from any other in that way.

So when people decide not to share what does the two-party system do? They play the game. If the Republicans are in power, they make it harder for people to share. If the Democrats are in power, they make people share. Either way, you don’t really get to choose.

What would a third party do? Well, let’s first talk about what “other parties” we have to choose from. Historically these other parties have been more extreme versions of the two major parties. They offer us more of the same, but more. Libertarians want to be left alone and to leave everyone else alone too. If put into playground terms, they would rather just have everyone play by themselves. The Constitution party wants to phase out social security and argues that certain taxes should not be collected by the Federal government. They don’t want to be forced to share, don’t want to share, and they aren’t shy about it. The Green party takes the Democratic party and adds more to the ideals of environmental stewardship, nonviolence, etc. The Green party wants everyone to play nicely and hold hands in perfect harmony.

There is nothing wrong with these other political parties. But they aren’t the “third party” we need.

It would take a special kind of third party to improve the two party system. It would have to be a party that could break the cycle of wins and losses. As I explained the problem with bipartisanship, we need a third party that can see more than just the two sides of every issue. We don’t need a Marriage Counselor party either to make the two parties get along and stay together. We need to attract people and foster an environment where creativity and ingenuity can grow. This would make all the difference in bringing us together to reach understanding and consensus while producing some amazing solutions to our problems.

What political platform preserves the right not to share while guaranteeing the level of sharing needed to keep our country operational?

Let’s start by recognizing the ground we’ve already gained. We live in a society filled with people who DO share. We willingly pay our taxes, which contributes to our many government programs. Anthropologists would say that our society has evolved enough to where we have come to an agreement on how to live, for the most part, in harmony with each other. Our country has found a way to be operational.

By the way, that belongs to the American people, not a party platform. Our country is filled with people who agree more than they disagree.

So, anyway, back to your question. What party platform would preserve the right not to share while guaranteeing the level of sharing needed to keep our country operational? The long, short answer is we don’t need one. The United States is operational.

If you allow me to re-frame the question slightly, what party platform strikes a balance between respecting ownership and sharing? What party platform would help us THRIVE?

One that’s flexible. One that allows for variation among party members and produces tailor-made answers to complex questions. We need a party platform that focuses on teaching us HOW to share, rather than simply saying – you must share OR you shouldn’t have to.

By the way, this kind of approach, this flexible way of thinking, is punishable under the current party system. You get in trouble for considering something outside of the team’s platform. Ask any moderate. I’ve had friends whisper to me that they don’t completely agree with their party’s platform. And you’ll likely see more and more moderate politicians get replaced during the next election cycle.

I’ve said enough. What do you guys think?

And… thank you.

Thank you to the people who are brave enough to ask these questions.

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2 comments

  1. This is such a great conversation! Who would have thought to frame such an important conversation in the context of kids sharing? Emily O’Hara Bergeson, you’re my hero! I plan to post this to MWEG and see what conversation we get. 🙂

    Like

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