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Embracing community

September 27, 2012

Today’s world is fast-paced, highly competitive and, some would say, “ethica`lly challenged.” Current mores put profit above principle and often place greater emphasis upon what we do for ourselves than what we do for each other. The political climate is troubling, as well. Our government has been brought to a near standstill by the unyielding adherence by politicians on both sides of the ideological spectrum to extreme and intractable positions. Rigid party allegiance and intransigence have eclipsed a sense of common purpose and have all but eliminated the possibility of civil discourse. Unfortunately, this creates a climate that is not conducive to a collegial and respectful national conversation, one that will bring us all together to solve our country’s many challenges.

Clearly, this is not a desirable or sustainable state of affairs. It is, of course, true that each of us wishes to succeed in life. We work hard. We want to prosper; to be comfortable and secure. These are important and natural desires. Nonetheless, many of us would agree that an over-emphasis on personal success to the detriment of the common good is not healthy for our communities. After all, we want for our children a world that is characterized by kindness, fairness, tolerance and generosity of spirit. These days we tend to measure success in terms of power and money. There is another path. Often a casualty of partisan rancor and personal ambition, this road emphasizes the importance of community. It is grounded in the notion that the fulfillment of worthy personal aspirations is no less likely and much more meaningful when our successes are shared by those around us.

We’re not always moved by such clichés as “united we stand, divided we fall.” Yet, in the midst of these challenging times we would all do well to consider these maxims carefully. If we do, we will come to appreciate that we are, indeed, stronger as a group than we are as individuals. When we are united we can accomplish great things.