All Together Now

November 6th is not the most important day of the year in this country. November 7th is.

November 7th we will know who will be guiding us for the next 4 years, but it’s also the day we get to stop hearing over-exaggerated, misleading and in many cases inaccurate debates back and forth from politicians and our under-educated Facebook friends that love to post unproductive rhetoric about one side or the other.

November 7th we finally have the opportunity to realize there really are no sides.

It’s not about Democrat vs. Republican, liberal vs. conservative, Christian vs. everyone else, or Cubs vs. White Sox. The last one is obviously White Sox.

Seriously though. It’s not us vs. them. Or at least it damn well shouldn’t be.

We’re in this life together.

Talented Denver comic Ben Roy says it like this:

“Our country is more polarized than ever, but yet we continue to create and purchase more and more devices and gadgets to connect us to each other and those around the world. We’re obviously craving something. Something tangible. Something primal and meaningful.”
Never have I been more in tune to that desire to connect nor to our interconnectedness as people. And I’ve spent a vast majority of my free time over the past 6 or 7 years connecting people (SEE: Collaborate, I AM FEST, to name a few). I’ve had many “wow, it’s a small world” experiences lately and also many conversations where I’ve realized I have something in common with a person I never would have guessed. I’ve found understanding from unexpected sources. I’ve been unexpectedly challenged and enlightened as well.
A few weeks ago a friend and I attended show by a band named Switchfoot. I haven’t always liked all of Switchfoot’s music, but I have always connected to Jon Foreman’s lyrics. Though he’s a bit older than me and from a completely different part of the country, I’ve related to his lyrics that contain recurring themes of questioning our purpose and our place in the grand scheme of things. He has a lot of angst, like myself. I’ve found comfort in knowing that someone further down the road and so much more successful than me struggles with the same things I do.
Switchfoot has a song called Meant to Live, which was a big hit in the early 2000s. The chorus goes
“We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?”
As I looked around the venue, I saw 1000 other people as captivated by this song as I was. I watched closely the rest of the concert as song after song all of these people of so many different ages from so many different backgrounds and so many different lifestyles passionately sang lyric after lyric.
I got a sense that they were singing not just because they liked the songs, but because the words meant something to them. Just the same as they mean something to me, they mean something to all these diverse people, in their own way. It made me wonder if Jon Foreman knows how impactful his words are to people. It made me wonder if politicians do. It made me wonder if I do. For the record, Jon might.
This type of experience is why I’ve put so much of my energy  into finding common ground and supporting causes like arts & entertainment that can connect groups of people rather than divide. As November 7th arrives, take a few moments to be aware of interconnectedness in your life. Focus on “working with…” instead of “working against…”. Take comfort in community. Collaborate.
Fittingly, Switchfoot ended that concert with a song called “Where I Belong”. The lyrics finish like this

“I still believe in us together/ You and I we’re here together now”

Life is better together.
More thoughts on in(ter)dependence here.