Sally White: Inclusion rather than exclusion

Santa Clarita Valley residents turned out to celebrate the Fourth of July in unity this year behind the theme The Emblems of the Land I Love.” Samie Gebers/The Signal

I began this column well over a week ago but could not bring it to a proper conclusion until I read Joshua Heath’s brilliant Op-Ed column “Democrat’s defense of the GOP” published last Thursday. His writing reflects the message that I, too, intended when I began writing. These are my original words:

An overwhelming sense of joy came over me as I read Gary Horton’s inspiring Op-Ed piece in the July 12, 2017, Signal! In this piece, he discussed sharing a meal with fellow columnist James DeBree, his wife and daughter.

Although they are from opposite sides of the political spectrum they were able to have a meaningful discussion about health care, which is currently, perhaps, the most divisive of any political subject. Yet after learning more about each other, they were able to find agreement about the crisis of priorities that exists in America today, in particular about the crisis in health care.

In his Op-Ed, Gary also mentions another well-respected Signal columnist from the other end of the political spectrum who has written about a family member with serious pre-existing conditions that would have excluded her from coverage under old policies, but he is grateful that the ACA put an end to both the pre-existing conditions and the policy cap clauses under which many have previously suffered.

This is such a beautiful example of how we can come together with love and understanding, as human beings, no matter how our political affiliations may differ. This is exactly the kind of action we can take that will lessen the divisiveness that is unnecessarily all too prevalent in our society today.

Poet Edwin Markham long ago wrote the poem “Outwitted,” a wise and perceptive formula for creating a peaceful and satisfying world. These are his beautiful words:

“He drew a circle that shut me out — Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!”

How much better to live a life of inclusion rather than exclusion. How much better to not be put off by unpleasant words and name-calling, but rather to treat all people with respect, and listen to their side of every story. We will often find that there are many more ways in which we agree than ways in which we disagree.

The idea of drawing that great big circle that includes everyone, rather than making tiny circles that include only those who think exactly as we do, would do wonders for the advancement of our society and the entire civilization.

As we see in Joshua’s article, many good things for people as a whole have also been accomplished by those from the “opposite party,” whichever side we may be on. All of us, no matter our party affiliation, owe it to society to open our eyes, keep them open, and look at the big picture, rather than staring only at the minutiaea of every situation.

I close with a sagacious quote from Joshua that is so “right on”:

“Politics is war by other means, but in this war, Democrats and Republicans must be collaborators, not enemies. Our combat must be against the problems of society, not against each other. We must not continue to weaken this great country with more unproductive partisanship!”

Beautifully stated, Joshua!

Sally White is a Valencia resident.

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