Living in a polarized nation is sad, hard, and sometimes frightening. In Maine we have two interesting opportunities to bridge the divide that has opened up between ordinary people — the central division right now being between those who are for and those who are against President Trump.

When people join camps of similarly minded believers, they stop talking to and connecting with the people they think are in the other camp.  The antidote to this division is connection, communication, and even respectful disagreement.

We have two issues in Maine where people from both sides of the great divide are finding themselves on the same side. Stopping the Central Maine Power corridor is one such issue. The anti-vaccination issue is the other one. In both cases there are pprogressives and conservatives on each side.

I would like to encourage us when we find ourselves sitting next to or working with someone from the opposite camp to take a moment to connect. It doesn’t need to be about the president; in fact, to begin with, it probably shouldn’t be. It could be anything — just plain, good-hearted human conversation can go a long way.  The bridges we build will sustain us here in Maine, long after the man in the White House is gone. The strength and health of our communities depend on the kind of human connections we have with one another, not our party affiliation, or ideological persuasion.

Please consider reaching out to someone from the opposite camp as you work together on the common causes by which you are connected. This will make both you and them more human in the deepest sense of the word. Right now, here in Maine, we have some great opportunities to do so.

Emanuel Pariser


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