Agree to Disagree

Yes I once again have some words stuck in my head.

Three simple words that I can not recall the last time I heard anyone utter in this particular order. 

A simple yet insightful phrase. Fifteen letters separated by two spaces that are so needed right now.

Yes, those words are in today’s headline: “Agree to Disagree”.

Once commonplace in our speech, I really can not remember the last time I heard this phrase used. And we need the wisdom contained in the statement.

That’s why we’ll undertake a discussion based upon those valued principles on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

During our conversation yesterday on “Let Freedom Reign”, among several declarations I made I shared, “ I am a Jesus Follower. A proud one. However I do not desire nor do I believe that the Lord intends for us to live in a theocracy”.

However our inability to consider agreeing to disagree is bringing too many to the opposite consideration. We have become far too divisive, allowed many to be far too manipulated and the extremes are being heard as a majority.

They are not. And should not be considered as such. The recent rulings from the nation’s highest court indeed point to the evidence of this.

The years of stacking the court and allowing those bought and paid for to pretend to be “our duly elected” public servants have led us to this point. We need those who have the integrity and character to not only lead but also are capable of remembering that their allegiance is to be to ‘we the people’, residing, working and trying to live in the districts they are to represent.

This fundamental agreement comes before any loyalty to an organization or campaign check.

We are in need of a serious course correction. 

One of calm and moderation. One in which people listen to one another and consider things carefully, respectfully and allow the good of the whole to be considered. Not more screaming, bullying and attacking.

So how can we get to this place of being able to ‘Agree to Disagree’?

First we need to have a common understanding of what the phrase means.

So to formulate our shared definition let’s begin with the word agree

It comes to our vocabulary from the late Middle English adapted from Old French “agreer”, which was based on Latin ‘ad-’ meaning ‘to’  and  ‘gratus’ defined as ‘pleasing’.

The Old French agreer was commonly accepted as “to please, satisfy; to receive with favor, take pleasure in” and further explained as “favorably, of good will,” literally “to (one’s) liking”.

So its origins come from the idea of favorably reaching an accord  that “we” can share pleasure in, as it shares the satisfaction of good will for all involved. 

The modern day definition is to “have the same opinion about something; concur”. And a secondary entry of “consent to do something that has been suggested by another person”.

It shows a willingness to listen to others, hear them, consider their ideas and input and then to concur – “to act together to a common end or single effect”.

Therefore considering the roots of it’s intentions I hope we can concur and come to agreement to accept the word agree as meaning:to be defined as:

“After careful, respectful consideration we can act together for the common good and accept a favorable course of goodwill”.

You won’t find that in the dictionary yet, but I’m working on it….

Now to continue our forward and upward focused momentum we need to come to an interpretation of the other option. What does it mean to disagree?

From the Old French, quite simply the origin was defined as  ‘refuse to agree to’. 

Hmm, seems to me to have its basis in an attitude of non-acceptance, perhaps even beginning from a pace of not being willing to attempt an accord.

The modern American English definition consists of entries of “have or express a different opinion” and “(of statements or accounts) be inconsistent or fail to correspond”.

Note nothing about being wrong or refusing to consent to consider. 

So I’ll offer this definition that  you can choose to accept or agree to  disagree with if you are so inclined.

For the purposes of our discussion here  along our shared path I’m offering this explanation of disagree:

“Being unable ( at this time) to reach an amicable resolution for the best intents and purposes”.

Therefore getting back to the phrase stuck in my head, that I mentioned I really want to see come back to our conversations, I offer this definition of ‘Agree to Disagree’:

“After serious consideration, discussion and  evidence considered, we at this time are unable to reach an accord that suits our mutual needs to progress with compassion, dignity and respect. Seeking to ensure an atmosphere of allowing for the acceptance of all party’s certain inalienable rights, including, but not limited to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at this time we are choosing to calmly set the issue aside for a future conversation.”

There is nothing wrong with taking a pause, for any cause. To allow cooler heads, more diverse input or new evidence to come to light.

Then reconvening with an attitude based in peace and seeking common understanding consent to taking another opportunity to come together to quite possible- agree to agree.

Somewhere along the line not only have we as a society lost our civility as wells as a quest for tolerance and mutual acceptance, but things also turned into ‘playing a game’.

Sports metaphors inundate the conversations about the course of our nation and diplomacy is seen as weakness. It has become win or lose, so ‘we’re gonna win and take it all’. 

This is not healthy.

It is why the extremists who may be polar opposites on an issue are doing the same thing.

And this win at all costs mindset presents evidence that those partaking in it, either don’t understand what they are doing, or worse yet prove they do not actually believe in the foundational principles of the organizations they are holding their allegiance to.

At times I’ve been disgusted by commercials and campaign statements by elected constitutional officers, seeking to better their careers by seeking a different  elected constitutional office, while openly saying they are out to knock down, prohibit or shatter the lives of others. 

I live in a state where two of these individuals not seeking reelection to their current offices are actually running to fill the seat vacated by the other.

One openly takes credit for in their words “destroying” an organization in the state. A group that at the end of the day is a private business, yet the individual is proud to “destroy” this while proudly waving the banner  of a political party that claims to support “free market capitalism” and the “deregulation of corporations”.

The other is vowing to sue anyone whose values differ from theirs- “all the way to the Supreme Court”. Yet is a registered member of an organization that purports to“support a “smaller federal government’. So they apparently are willing to weaponize anything to their advantage whether it is in accord with their own publicly stated beliefs or not.

I scratch my head. Then I cry. 

Obviously neither would support my effort to find a center where we can freely agree to disagree.

They seek not to bring us together or work to help us remain united. Rather they want to keep crossing the line in an attempt to knock the “other side” down.

That is the very problem of this ‘us vs. them”’mentality. The fallacy of our side not theirs!

No path in life is a straight line. Even as the crow flies, it does not soar directly from point A to point B. It encounters obstacles, sometimes attacks, even the changing winds. Yet eventually with adjustment and steadfast determination it gets to where it needs to go.

This idea of there being only two sides is quite frankly ludicrous. First of all in our system there is nothing that limits participation to just “both sides of the aisle”.

Much less anything that dictates that it has to be the two current ‘major political parties’. Remember in the days of our founding fathers, neither of these groups existed. Therefore I guess one could surmise that neither is ‘deeply rooted in U.S. history’.

We have to stop accepting the propaganda that there are only two sides.

From my vantage point, I know this is ‘fuzzy math”, but every debate, issue or question can be viewed from 360 different “sides”. What I’m referring to is due to the cyclical nature of life and how things evolve, at every degree of the circle it is possible for there to be a different perspective.

The circle of life needs to remain unbroken…

The “Circle of Life”, is much like the song shares:

“It’s the circle of life

it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

‘Til we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the circle

The circle of life”

It is the essence of daily movement, not to be running around in circles, but rather to keep the circle rolling, moving forward, building with increasing momentum lifting us all a little higher.

This living ellipse, constantly in movement,  symbolizes the universe being sacred and divine. The idea of life as a circle or a wheel exists across multiple spiritual and religious beliefs and spheres of philosophies.

For myself, I first learned of it  as the Sacred Hoop, these days more often or not referred to as the Medicine Wheel.

Though widely used the later term is not of original origin and much like many names and even identities of the indigenous residents of Turtle Island, was derived by the language and believed understandings of European influenced settlers of what we today call the Americas. 

Due to language differences, the Sacred Hoop has many different names amongst the tribes. However the concept is the same.. The Sacred Hoop is symbolized by a very basic, yet perfect shape: the circle.  

It is widely accepted that the Sacred Hoop is a symbol of life additionally representing  perfection plus infinity as the circle has no beginning nor end. 

There can be many reasons behind the meaning of the circle itself among Nations.  These range from representing the stages of life; to Earth or other heavenly bodies including the Sun and Moon; as well as aspects of humanity. 

And I hope and pray that we can agree NOT to disagree that the circle of life should continue seeking the best outcome for all participants. Thus providing us with a growth minded existence rooted in peace and compassion seeking to have dignity and respect for all living things.

In order to return to this natural state we need to be able to “Agree to Disagree” on some things knowing if we do, in the end, all things will end in all is well.

I pray you’ll choose to join me in this corrective quest.

Perhaps we can find more common ground in doing so when you join us tomorrow for our extended odyssey as Wednesdays are the day we undertake our search and rescue mission for wisdom here on “Becoming Today”. 

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