The battlefields are packed. 500 people stand, divided down the middle, armed and ready. “One, two, three!” screams somebody from the back, and suddenly the groups erupt into noise, snowballs hurling through the air. Parents with their children, teenagers with their friends, 30-year-olds, 50-year-olds, all stand side by side. There is no way to know who is rich or poor, employed or unemployed, or Democrat or Republican – and nobody cares. Nobody wants to know who you voted for or how you were affected by the government shutdown. They want fun. They want pure, innocent, childish fun. Politics has no place here, and it doesn’t need to, because Democrats and Republicans both love snowball fights. We, as human beings, have far more in common than issues that divide us.
We all love snowball fights. We all love sunny Sunday mornings where we can gather in front of a beautiful monument and throw snow at each other with abandon. A time when we can return to the childish abandon we all used to hold, where you could do things purely for fun, and not have to worry or think about the work that you could be doing. We all love going into a warm coffee shop afterward, for hot chocolate and good talks with friends. We love going home and taking off our cold, wet socks and putting on new warm ones. And this became evident as I stood on the Washington Monument’s snow-covered lawn today. If we take the time to get down to these commonalities, we could solve a lot of our politically divisive issues.
An article from The Hill on this very topic says, “Our country is broken. This proposition is so uncontroversial nowadays that it is regarded not with a sense of shock or tragedy but as a banal fact.” I believe that sentiment to be true. While either side may disagree on what makes our country broken, both would agree that there are fundamentals that need to be improved. When we get down to the root of it, both political parties have some commonalities. Both want what is best for America and its citizens. Both want to avoid unnecessary conflict. Parties may disagree on how to go about accomplishing these, but both would agree that these are the goals of our democracy.
Likewise, an article from App polled on the issues that we most have in common, and found multiple issues that the vast majority of Americans agree on. For example, about three-fourths of Americans agree that racism is at least somewhat of a serious problem in America today. Second, Americans also believe that there should be stricter gun laws to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of dangerous people. And third, Americans also agree that there should be a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought here as children. The pathway to reach these goals may be different, but we agree that these are the main issues faced in the country, today. The article goes on to say that we do agree fundamentally on many issues. But often when we discuss such issues, we automatically act as though we are on the defense and may never realize that we actually want the same things.
There are issues we do legitimately disagree on, and that may never unanimously be agreed upon. The public turns to its elected officials to resolve these disputes in the deliberative bodies of Congress. As a consequence, they are often blamed for the gridlock that results from such disagreement. But I believe that politicians have skin in the game for good rather than for gain. That if we start at the root – the desire to make our country the best it can be for all of its citizens – and work from there, maybe this divisiveness won’t be such a barrier to success. Instead of starting with what makes us different, let’s begin with what makes us all the same – we all love a good snowball fight in the winter time.