I don’t know about you, but I’ve been just a little (read: a lot) emotionally raw these past few months. Living through a global pandemic (which has taken a member of my family) and a contentious election has unfortunately revealed that I have less common ground with many friends and loved ones than I used to, or than I thought I did.
It is the understatement of the year to say it has been very difficult.
I was talking to my 17-year-old son about the current polarization of American citizens the other day. He has experienced disagreements with friends on fundamental things this year, even at his young age. What I said to him was, “We just have to remember, Honey, that we still share like 80 or 90 percent of our beliefs in common with these people. It’s just right now, the points where we differ seem much bigger than they actually are.”
To be honest, it is hard for me to focus on and remember that fact sometimes. But we have to try. We have to seek and amplify the common ground that we Americans share with each other.
Because the truth is, the common ground is vast and the middle is huge. There is room for all of us there.
So when I saw Jeep’s ad that will play during the big football game tonight that says exactly that, I cried. Big old cathartic, heartfelt tears. Narrated by the rugged, authentically American voice of Bruce Springsteen, the ad had me screaming, “YES!” from the bottom of my soul.
Do your heart some good and give it a watch:
“Fear has never been the best of who we are,” Springsteen says. “We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground. So we can get there. We can make it to the mountaintop, through the desert . . . and we will cross this divide.”
Honestly. Are you crying yet?
My heart broke at, “We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground.”
Jeep’s description of the ad says:
“Jeep® kicks off Game Day by reminding us we are stronger than the obstacles in our way, and invites us to remember all the ways we are connected as Americans. A timeless CJ-5 takes us on a journey to the U.S. Center Chapel in Kansas in search of common ground. We have spanned deserts and climbed the highest peaks. We can cross this divide. #JeepTheMiddle”
The phrase “invites us to remember all the ways we are connected as Americans” truly resonated with me. We are at a time where we are going to have to do the hard work of intentionally trying to connect, seek commonalities, and reach that middle. It will be exhausting no doubt, but it will be worth it, if we’re brave enough. I can’t imagine the consequences if we’re not.
Oh friends, will you meet me in the middle?
I want to go to there so badly. To stand on that common ground, and embrace what makes us the same, all the while recognizing that our differences are beautiful. Can we do this hard work together in the middle? I pray daily that we can.