As we started the new year with yet another political battle, I found myself talking with someone about how Gun Sense Chester County has been able to makes strides based on our belief, “Common Ground is the Solution™.”
First, the easy part. Research consistently shows there is existing common ground between those who don’t own guns and those who do, in several key gun regulation policy areas. We don’t have to “create” the common ground. We just need to educate people about it and ask them to advocate for these changes.
Now the not so easy part. We need to listen to one another. On an emotionally charged topic like gun ownership and regulation, this is not always easy. In fact, it’s hard. It takes commitment and focused effort.
During the fall, Gun Sense Chester County speakers and Board members had a series of discussions with people who seemingly hold polar opposite views on the issues on which we advocate. However, after using patience, listening carefully, and committing to building relationship, we’ve gained insight as to where there is common ground.
For us to move forward as a healthy society, on this issue or any other, we need to stop framing people as the “other” with whom we assume we have little in common. Instead, we can invest in finding what we do have in common. That provides a foundation on which we can build.
This site, http://www.3minutestoryteller.com/ has a brief video from a University of Pennsylvania neuroscientist who talks about our very human tendency to label the “other.” He also notes, we are fully capable of overcoming this tendency.
Now that’s a resolution worth making, and keeping.