I had an appointment to have a lunch meeting with some friends today. When I arrived at our chosen rendezvous point, one of the guys was nowhere to be found. He has a tendency to occasionally be flighty and forgetful. I found out that he just wasn’t coming to the meeting from one of the other guys. So, I called him to ride him hard about not showing up and not calling me to cancel the meeting (We really needed all of us there for the meeting to take place).
It wasn’t until after I hung up the phone that I found out the reason he could not be there. And without going into details (but just for context of how big a jerk I am), something seriously negative had happened in his life that was far more important than our little meeting. I immediately called back and left a message apologizing for the first message, but the horse was already out of the chicken coop. I often forget that other people have context to their lives that does not necessarily correlate with the context of my life.
I can’t help but think about politics in connection with this thought. People have contexts to their own lives that others may not ever be able to comprehend. I think this is where yelling and divisive political discourse has its roots. For example, I can’t understand how someone could cry over voting for someone, just not possible for me. And trust me, I can get pretty weepy. However, that person has obviously had a different experience in life that gives different context to that moment of voting.
We need to all remember that we are a vast and varied country with individually vast and varied life contexts. We have the great privilege of voting for our leaders. At the same time while having those disagreements of ideas, try to remember in your emails, conversations, and blog posts that we are also all neighbors and fellow citizens of a pretty great country (no matter the current circumstances) who each have our own context in life that informs our political decisions. Those don’t make us good or bad people, they just are what they are and make us who we are.