When Conflict Is The Conversation

The astronomical clock in Prague
The astronomical clock in Prague



I’ve been in Prague, Czech Republic for a week.

I missed the hoopla.


I went with my sister; I worked on team building with various groups in the city while she was speaking to students and business people. The folks we were around were from all walks of life. The cultural differences were obvious. They are a proud people, living in what is called the Heart of Europe, so they’ve been in the middle of religious and political events and uprisings since their beginning. They have lived dissent. They’ve experienced the pushback of leaders who have threatened them, subjected them, fought them and and forced them out of their homes. Throughout thousands of years of history, they’ve not lost their identity.

Everyone wanted to know what we thought of the election and Donald Trump. There’s a bit of fear here that our new President might be a tad too close to Putin.

They know what it’s like to live with uneasy.

Our friends were at a university here on election day and saw a somber magazine cover, depicting both Clinton and unnamed-4Trump covered in mud. The caption read “Screenplay for a Tragedy.”

Then the comments began flowing back home about the riots and flag burning and mourning because people were upset about the election. Students being released from midterms because they’re too bothered by what had happened to be able to study. Counselors on site at various universities to help people deal with their grief.

Did we elect a President or did the President die? When Kennedy was assassinated, the national mourning looked much like this.

It feels like we in America have hit a tipping point. We’re not who we’re supposed to be right now. Things are out of control and folks have lost perspective, hope, vision for what can be, and a sense of who we are.

Being in a country whose history is filled with fighting, both the war and political variety, makes it easy to understand how people might have a hard time trusting their politicians.

A little more than twenty years ago, Czechoslovakia became the Czech Republic and Slovakia because of political dissent and disagreement. The division affected everyone.

Is that what we’re heading for?

I’ve always thought one of the really beautiful things about America is the freedom to disagree. And not get jailed or killed for it. Our differences make us stronger because we push against what we disagree with and try to work to make it better for everyone. Not just a few. Disagreement leads to growth.

But here’s an even greater sadness. 43% of eligible voters didn’t even bother to submit a ballot. Apathy over the situation made them calloused to caring.

We care enough to complain and protest, show anger and disgust toward the system. So many didn’t even care enough to vote.

We are indeed becoming a country divided.

Divided by an unwillingness to work together.

Jesus reminded us to care for and love our neighbors. Even if we disagree with them.

Maybe if we stopped focusing on our disappointment and fear and focus on the needs of others, we could deal with our disagreements.

We’re not each others’ enemy.


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