We should embrace our differences

Dear Editor,
This letter is to praise Christina Clinton’s wise, heartfelt and beautifully written “My Turn” piece published in the News-Argus, July 30. She is absolutely correct to ask that we embrace our differences. She asks that we seek strength in these very differences instead of harboring resentments, hatred and intolerance toward people who look, speak and hold views different from our own. She writes that each of us is responsible for seeking positive change in the way we think and feel toward people different from ourselves.
That we share our planet with a remarkably diverse population is not news. What feels new to me is the escalating level of negativity in our own society and its serious consequences including an open expression of hate in the media, widespread possession of guns, daily killings in big cities across our continent, voter suppression laws and a government often unable to compromise, thus govern.
Clinton’s pleas are based on her experiences, she tells us, compels her to speak up because the current negative situation has become intolerable. We must seek positive change. As a person who lived and worked in many cultures and countries from Peace Corps in Thailand, over 20 years in several African countries and finally four years in Indonesia, I know how enriching these experiences have been for me and my family. I learned from friends around the world how we each bring our unique perspectives to every experience. I learned to value the diversity of views and the people who hold them.
Varying perspectives help us realize our own are not the only way to understand our world. Perhaps our way is neither the correct nor necessarily the best way. Lacking viewpoints different from our own can lead to narrow minded notions leading ultimately to ignorance and the hate, bigotry and intolerance Christina Clinton and others fear in Lewistown and beyond.
Words lacking action are neither easy nor enough to bring urgently needed changes. The difficulty of the task is no reason not to begin thoughtful conversations about how we can open our hearts and minds to all people regardless of our different religions, color, politics, ethnicity or sexual orientation. These conversations must begin in classrooms in every city and town across this continent. They should take place in our community meetings, churches, offices, political parties and most important in our homes.
Finally, I commend the News-Argus for publishing Clinton’s extraordinary piece.
Nancy R. Mickelsen
Lewistown

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