by Michael Maciel
Adam’s first task, according to the account in Genesis, was to name things. And by naming them, he (we) give them their identity. It’s what we do.
But when we name something (or someone), we not only say who they “are,” we also say who they “are not.” Names, by their very nature, are polarizing. They differentiate. They set apart.
Visions, on the other hand, unite. They bring people together. When our language speaks vision, when our words define goals, not “positions,” we start pulling together instead of pulling apart.
In this highly divisive political environment, we need a well-defined vision, not a stronger position. Names like “Democrat” and “Republican” divide us, whereas the name “American” unites us.
The name “America,” however, lost its power when it became a country, not a vision. Make it a country, and we cannot avoid seeing ourselves separate from the rest of the world. But make it a vision, and the whole world will aspire to it.
Gay rights (as an example of a position) loses its power of inclusion when it defines itself different from straight. What is the vision? If you make “relationship” the vision, everyone—gay or straight—can identify with it.
Instead of saying, “We should spend more money on schools,” why not say, “Let’s help our kids become smarter.” One is a political position, the other is a common goal, one that everyone can agree with. Best of all, it promotes the idea that education happens EVERYWHERE, not just in school. So it lifts the entire culture, not just one institution. “Smarter kids,” not “better schools.”
This isn’t simply a matter of linguistics. It’s not even a matter of “political correctness.” It is a spiritual matter. Ask yourself, “What am I for?” not “What am I against.” Name your vision, not your position. Visions move people; positions stop them in their tracks.
“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!”
― Pablo Picasso