Kristen Powers offers ideas on how to coexist


Not too long ago, certainly in our lifetime, we could disagree and civilly disagree. After all, argument based on conflicting ideals is necessary for the intellectual growth of a society.
But now things are just ugly. Everything, including what to eat for lunch, seems to fall into two camps, us versus them, reds versus blues, conservatives versus liberals. Politicians are divided, it’s nothing new, but now families are divided on different political points of view.
So what to do? How can any of us go on when division permeates every aspect of our lives? Isn’t life hard enough without the constant vitriol? And what about the cost to our inner lives as we are consumed with hatred, anger and exhaustion?
Author Kirsten Powers addresses these questions in her book, “Saving Grace: Speak Your Truth, Stay Centered and Learn to Coexist with People who Drive You Nuts.” Powers is no stranger to the division. As a USA Today columnist and CNN commentator, she often clashes with political rivals, and she writes how such commitments have left her exhausted and depressed.
For guidance, she turns to a tried and true concept older than the old – grace.
Powers explores this subject in depth with intelligence and sensitivity while remaining down to earth and constantly in our collective political dilemma. She clearly writes, “Grace is amazing.”
However, grace is not simple. Powers could have just made such a Pollyanna statement and then filled the rest of her book with fluff and filler. But she is much braver. Grace takes work. Grace is not a get out of jail card.
“Grace helps you see that the beliefs and actions of others belong to them, and that marinating in judgment, rage, hatred, frustration, and resentment toward them doesn’t help anyone,” Powers says in her book.
Grace to others is a gift we give ourselves. But again, it’s not easy. We can always disagree and probably should disagree on a number of issues.
But we must become aware of our inner life before our souls burn with anger and we become embers, petrified on either side of the political aisle.
Americans, it seems, have little appetite for grace right now. And Powers’ book is unlikely to bring us all together in collective harmony. But Powers offers a kind of manual on how to navigate these times in a way that keeps us safe, which is an important first step.


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