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Shanti Emerson: Listen to each other

Hello fellow Nevada Countians! What we have been through together this year. This is one of the worst years in history, and it’s not over yet. One of the worst aspects is that we, like the rest of our beloved country, are at odds with each other.

So many issues … so many points of view. Can we ever understand the other side? Can we tolerate differences? Do we wear masks or not? Does Jesus want us to wear masks or not? Don’t laugh. There are people saying Jesus doesn’t want us to mask up.

Should our businesses follow the prescribed protocols or not? Depends on what you hear.



Did you vote for Biden or Trump? Is the election legitimate or not? Do you get your information from Fox or PBS or NBC or CNN or QAnon? Which are fake news and which are legit?

Do you think Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks drink children’s blood? Don’t laugh. I know people who believe this!



Is Trump a genius or an incompetent megalomaniac? Should he get the Nobel Peace Prize or go to jail? Depends on what you see.

Are masking and isolating horrible things that stop relationships and cause suicides or are they minor inconveniences to protect people from COIVD​? Depends. Do you drink beer or wine?

Is Black Lives Matter an organization that cares about justice and equality or are they just a bunch of Marxist looters? How about Back the Blue? Are they hateful white supremacists or people worried about law and order?

Guns. Are they instruments of violence, killing innocent people and used for suicides or do they provide comfort and protection? Depends on your life experiences.

Is socialism a scary form of government that will take away your individuality and steal your land? Or is it already in place alongside capitalism providing us public education, fire protection, highways, parks, police and sheriffs, Social Security, Medicare, etc.? Nothing scary about that.

Is Newsom a governor who is trying his best to protect Californians? Or is he an evil tyrant who is taking over your individual rights? Depends on what you hear.

Pro-choice? There will always be abortions. Let’s make women safe from nasty botched abortions. Pro-life? Save a new life, and then make sure that baby is taken good care of.

Do you call the creative power God or Allah or Krishna or Higher Power or Creative Force? Depends on where your family came from.

Is Biden a doddering Alzheimer’s patient or wonderful a moderate, seasoned politician. Is he what we need at this time or is he incapable of running this country?

We think of the big divide as being partisan, and it is, but let’s look deeper. Republican or Democrat, red or blue? But the truth is that it is mainly urban vs. rural life. Two different worlds we live in. Heavily populated coastal states vs. lightly populated inner states.

I’ve been blessed to have lived in five American states (Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and California), small towns, major cities (Houston, LA and San Francisco), and the middle of nowhere (between Geneso and Lions, Kansas).

I’ve also been fortunate enough to have traveled on five continents. I have been a Republican and a Democrat. I have gone to the Episcopal, Methodist, Unitarian, Unity, Catholic, Presbyterian churches as well as Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist temples. This has given me a large perspective of our human family, and of course, we have much more in common than differences.

In our hearts, most people love their families, want their businesses to succeed, want their children to thrive and want to get along with the rest of the world. We must go beyond our tribalism and prejudices and open our hearts to all people. It’s possible but difficult.

In my long life, I have never seen this country so divided, and I doubt that it has been so asunder since the Civil War. Our congressmen and women on both sides have acted abysmally and are poor examples of conduct, especially for our children.

We must get together or we will fail as a nation. It is said by credible government spokesmen that Russia and Iran are using our social media to cause chaos and dissension in our country to weaken us. If so, they are succeeding.

We must listen to each other. We don’t have to agree, but we must respect others’ opinions and try to understand them.

Who can help us build a bridge across the aisle? I would start with the religious/spiritual leaders. I would like to see all local preachers and rabbis get together and make peace among themselves and then go to their congregations and do their best to help them understand the other points of view … maybe even preach a sermon in each other’s churches/temples.

If our religious/spiritual leaders can’t bring us together, who can?

Next I would like our excellent Board of Supervisors to encourage us to communicate better in any way they can. I have never seen a more dedicated, fair-minded group of leaders. If our Congress were like our Board of Supervisors, we would be in a much better place.

Let’s have meetings with each other … no matter how many, no matter how long it takes. Let’s open our minds and our hearts and create a world of tolerance and peace. It would be worth it, wouldn’t it?

Shanti Emerson is a Nevada County resident and a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the board or its members. She can be reached at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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