blog, blogging

Leap: The Power of We – Part of Blog Action Day

Today, bloggers all over the globe are posting as a part of Blog Action Day – an annual campaign in which we rally together behind a specific theme. This year, we’re united under the banner “The Power of We”.

It’s an interesting time in the U.S. for this topic. We are in the midst of a cutthroat election season and for many it feels like we’re living through the theme “The Power of Us and Them, and the Good That Will Never Come From This Divide.” We are inundated by messages of Wall Street versus Main Street and the 1% versus the 99%. The challenge that we truly face is how to have civil and impassioned dialogue around the topics that impact all of our lives and test all of our beliefs in profound ways.

A couple of years ago, I didn’t think this was possible. Topics like a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, environmental protection, public assistance programs, and other massive social issues will always have very stark contrasts on either side. There is no way to come together, right?

Michael Sandel thinks otherwise. Or at least he wants us to test the waters.

Dr. Sandel teaches a course entitled “Justice” at Harvard University. His style is masterful and magical. The class tests the students’ moral and ethical code, presenting them with highly controversial social dilemmas and asking them to take and defend a position.

You don’t need to travel to Cambridge, MA and pay an outrageous tuition bill to attend the class. It’s all available online, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. I took the course and during every class I would immediately snap to a specific judgment. By the end of the class I would completely question my beliefs.

And this is the point. Somehow Sandel manages to lead us toward contemplation no matter how much we dig in our ethical heels. It’s fascinating. And it’s what we need more of. This kind of discourse and discussion is badly needed in a world that is facing so many enormous challenges. It’s a skill that is in short supply from Wall Street to Main Street and everywhere in between, among the 1% and the 99%.

The Power of We starts with learning the art of conversation, the art of intelligent debate that allows all sides to maintain their dignity. It’s a difficult path but I believe we can get there if we all commit to be in this world together.