Most of us want the same kinds of things. Who doesn’t want peace, prosperity, and a purpose in life? And aren’t most of us proud to be “one nation under God”? I’m running for State Representative because I think we should be focusing on our common goals and working together to find the best way to achieve them.
Prosperity for example. Two years ago I was part of a group of 20 or so adults who met weekly for several months to watch and discuss a video series entitled “Seeking Shalom: How Reimagining Charity Can Transform Lives and Restore Communities”. Our goal was to learn how to help eliminate poverty in our communities.
We learned that those living in poverty sometimes resent more than appreciate well-intended traditional charity such as free turkeys at Thanksgiving. “I don’t need a turkey – I need $60 to get my muffler fixed so I can get to work,” said one of the more-blunt interviewees. One common theme was the concept of “giving a person a fish will feed them for one meal but teaching that person to fish will feed them for a lifetime.”
Our group was a mix of about half politically left to far-left leaning and the other half a mix of centrist to right-leaning people. But when presented with the same set of facts, there was no hint of political conflict.
At the conclusion of the series, we were asked to consider taking the following “Oath for Compassionate Helpers”:
- I will never do for others what they have the capacity to do for themselves; I will limit one-way giving to crises and seek always to find ways for legitimate exchange;
- I will seek ways to empower by hiring, lending, and investing and offer gifts as incentives to celebrate achievements;
- I will put the interests of those experiencing poverty above my own even when it means setting aside my own agenda or the agenda of my organization;
- I will listen carefully, even to what is not being said knowing that unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to healthy engagement;
- And, above all, to the best of my ability.
It’s an approach that has helped reduce poverty elsewhere and worth trying here. I hope that you will agree that it’s a common sense approach once the facts are clearly presented to all parties. As your State Representative, it's the approach I will take to problem solving.
The first step is listening to your perceptions of the issues that have divided us and to your suggested solutions. Whether or not you live in Croydon or Sunapee or somewhere else, I hope you’ll take a minute to go to this website's Home page and find the link to participate in this week’s survey. With your help, I'm hoping we'll be able to discover that we have more common goals than we have realized.