Seeking Common Ground

Seeking Common Ground

Okay, I will be be honest. The blog denigrating me and my most recent Letter to the Editor in the Napa Register impacted me more than I wanted it to. I know character assignation is a way to diminish an opponent’s position, and I (smuggly!) console myself: I must have hit the mark.

But I also have to ask myself: Was I unnecessarily provocative? I am a proponent of common ground. Finding common ground means not provoking the other— doesn’t it? So I started thinking: what are the conditions that promote common ground?

Just this last week our neighborhood group spoke with Supervisor Alfredo Pedrosa around another issue, but the common ground topic came up. Pedrosa stated how important common ground was and lamented how much it is lacking in the land use issues of our county. There was an implication that the citizen group Napa Vision 2050 was in part to blame, that they had been given a seat at the table but had come up with no constructive suggestions. (I am in this group.)

Many of us disagree with this assessment. Napa Vision 2050 has accomplished a great deal in my book, and again, I refer you to my Letter to the Editor. Many of us feel that the wine industry has several of our elected officials in their pocket. How do you find common ground under these circumstances when a powerful industry is controlling the show?

That is really the question! I turn to my Jungian training here. Carl Jung maintained that holding the opposites was our only hope of finding that third solution that transcends opposition. However, both sides have to be heard and acknowledged, even if this act is polarizing for a while. It just has to be conscious holding of the opposites. This is true within the individual human psyche and it is true collectively. And as one of the comments to my critic’s blog stated about the blogger’s written attack on me, “I just saw a video of a man getting punched in the face at a Trump rally, and it pissed me off. Next time I will take a walk before rising to the bait. I suggest you do the same.”

So again, I ask the question about the process of finding common ground, when to speak truth even if it provokes, when to “take a walk before rising to the bait”. It is as if I am distilling the question for the essence of how we can all live together on this planet…

I would love your thoughts.