We are now facing a crisis of divisions I have never before seen in our country: Republican against Democrat, Democrat against Republican, family against family, and neighbor against neighbor. Geez! Enough!

We must unite as a people and a living community. I have protested the war in Vietnam, and I became a disaster relief volunteer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I came away with an “adopted” Southern family.

We must learn to halt galvanized thinking and engage in civil discussion. How?

• Look. We can all learn patience and to see beyond the surface of a person or situation.

• Listen. Very important. We can all learn to listen at each other – feelings, opinions.

• Empathy. Very, very important. We can all learn the ability to walk in the shoes of someone unlike ourselves.

I have friends of very different political beliefs than my own. Yet, in these times, loving friendships can and do endure. I consider myself fortunate to have the ability to employ the aforementioned tools of engagement, communication, relationship.

We can all learn to look, listen and use empathy. If we are to survive as a vital nation, we must unite as a community and as a people

Maureen Ann Cianci

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