At this point in my life and career, I no longer see any point in responding with anger to differing opinions. However, I do think a response is desperately needed in our increasingly polarized country. In an ideal world, the different political parties are held in creative tension, with mutual respect and appreciation, in an environment of open dialogue, for the building up of the whole nation – not just for the ascendance of one party. The human family is not served by individualism, patriarchy, or competition. The world is outgrowing the dualistic constructs of superior/inferior, win/lose, good/bad, and domination/submission. Breaking through in their place are equality, communion, collaboration, synchronicity, expansiveness, abundance, wholeness, and mutuality.
How can we navigate this shift? And, more importantly, how is ANA urging us to navigate it? Through solidarity with the people, especially the sick-poor and marginalized. First of all, that is where nurses and nursing has always stood. This is part of who we are as nurses – from Nightingale to the present. Proximity to vulnerable human beings put us more in touch with the truth of our limited and messy human condition, marked as it is by fragility, incompleteness, and inevitable struggle. People on the margins are less able to, and less invested in, keeping up appearances, so they often have an uncanny ability to call things as they are. Standing with them helps situate us in the truth and helps keep us honest to our task as professionals. I for one am proud to be an ANA member, and proud also that ANA continues to align itself with the people. It is not merely a matter politics, nor of economy. It is a philosophical stance for the people – all of them, not just the ‘middles class’ or the employed or the taxpayer.
However, each person is free to express her/his opinion both within ANA, and on this blog. I hope you know that I treasure your right to your opinion as much as I cherish my own. We who are in positions of leadership are constantly challenged to honor a wide spectrum of opinions. We must learn how to create community from diversity, and to reconcile our differences productively. We have to trust that divergent opinions will force us to greater clarity. Our commitment as professionals and as nurses compels us to do that, as together we seek the common good. And I hope I speak for most, if not all nurses, when I say that we all want the common good!