When President Barack Obama said the sentence, "You didn't build that," on the election trail it polarized the debate. It almost forced people to choose a side. For educated liberals they saw the meaning behind Obama's words. No accomplishment is met by oneself. New theories are built on the backs on previous theories. Businesses grow not just because of hard working owners but the people that owner hires and the additional businesses they purchase supplies and rent from. Educated conservatives saw the problem with Obama's poor wording. There are individuals who sacrifice, work a 60 hour work weeks, begin their organization or business without paying themselves. To say they didn't build their company, restaurant, or organization negates the sacrifice to make their dreams a reality.
I see how both sides are correct. Yet, somehow, four words drew the line in the sand. We were told to make a choice. Either we were for the community or the individual. If we are honest we would realize there was no winning. Once we picked a side the opposite side vilified us. The only thing the "You didn't build that" argument did was expand the chasm that has been growing for years now, separating us as a nation. Therefore, I also see how both sides are wrong.
Let's change the focus. Let's say we are actually all builders. Every day we are building. Perhaps we are building relationships, connections, and innovations. Perhaps we are building walls, ditches, and separators. Either way we are building. We don't have a choice, we have to build. The only choice we have is what we are building. Are we building on good business practices or underhanded deals. Are we building on love or something else. The question then isn't whether or not we are the builders. The real question becomes what are we building.
I write this, in part, for one of Fig Tree's meditations. In bigger part, I write this because I think it does more to create a bridge that might be able to overcome this chasm. I am friends with some pretty strong liberals and some pretty strong conservatives. I am friends with both because I can really see how both sides are correct. It hurts my heart to see the divide as it continues to grow and separate us. Do you want to know what I want to build? I want to be a bridge builder. I pray some day I can say, "I did build that."