A New End Game

We’re a divided nation. It’s been said a thousand times. Politicians say we need to come together, we need to work together, blah blah blah, but they never tell you how and they certainly never do anything meaningful to bridge the gap. In fact, these days it seems like the sole end game of our two political parties is to win. And for many of them, winning means they get everything they want and the other side gets nothing, because all their ideas are stupid and will ruin the country.

So what do we do? I think it starts with one fundamental truth we all need to understand and come to terms with: You’re never going to win. Yes, you. Whatever side you’re on, you’re never going to win. Why? Because half the country disagrees with you. Please take a minute to let that sink in. Forget how much you want to win and realize you will not… at least not when winning is defined as getting everything you want at the cost of the other side’s complete and utter destruction. We can not and will not all agree. This is the simple reality of a nation of diverse people all living together. Understanding this fundamental truth, we can begin to consider a new path for America.

The last time my side lost big, I had a realization. In the midst of my worst anger, frustration, and fear, I had a sudden and surprising feeling of happiness. I actually felt happy for the other half of the country that were getting some relief that day. I felt happy because I know so many of them had been so miserable for so long. I also felt happy because some of those people are my friends and family and I genuinely care about their happiness.

What I realized is that I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I don’t want “them” to feel like this anymore. This realization has dramatically changed my perspective. Turns out it hasn’t been us against them but us against us. We’re our own worst enemy. At some point we turned on each other. Now we just keep changing which side is in power when what we really need is to change the way we play the game. I’m ready to work towards an end game that puts our mutual happiness first. Maybe “total victory” is a generally happy country that gets along and lives with reasonable compromise.

As divided as we are, I think people on both the (current) “winning” and “losing” sides can support the exact same goal. All of us are in the exact same boat. We are all going through the same pain. We’ve all had enough. We just need a way to move forward. If we can change our end game to be mutual happiness based on reasonable compromise, that would change everything. Let’s let ourselves be happy by getting the best we can get. And what is the best we can get? Reasonable compromise. I truly believe it is just that simple.