"It is not enough to be well-meaning and kindly, but weak; neither is it enough to be strong, unless morality and decency go hand in hand with strength."

These words from Theodore Roosevelt describe the problem and the opportunity. While they are powerful, I believe that 'purpose and meaning' are the keys to make it all work.

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Agreed. Yet this call for unity itself reveals the cause of our present division. Purpose needs meaning like action requires consensus --or trust at least the assumption of good-faith. How, after meaning has been lost, can kindness and decency of purpose be agreed to?

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It's a good question, Steff - in part because for many people, purpose is an intensely personal thing. Your purpose and my purpose may be meaningful to each of us but the our approach to getting there may be at odds.

But therein lies the opportunity, I think: no matter what we believe or how we intend to pursue our purpose and goals, we can still commit to doing it with kindness and decency, rather than vitriol and destruction.

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We can create habits with our thought process, habits that train our brain to be open to conversation and ideas.

We can create habits with our communication process, learned habits about how to be a good listener, how to respond to comments you might not agree with that opens the door to shared conversation, how to communicate collaboratively.

And we can create habits with our actions that move us toward our purpose without harming others.

In order to get there, I believe we need to take baby steps in all three areas and see successes that encourage each of us to see the powerful effects of life lived with 'kindness and decency.'

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Yes, if we can’t agree to disagree, we can agree on what is the best choice of action. Kindness always engenders decency while vitriol has never achieved anything but division.

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