Common Ground

I recently listen to the Hunting Collective podcast in which the host and guest discussed Public Lands and the importance of protecting these treasures.  I highly recommend listening to this podcast, not just because of the Public Lands discussion, but for the Wisdom they imparted on how we need to listen to one another and work together for our Common goals.

The battle to protect Public Lands has brought together a diverse coalition:  hunters, anglers, environmentalists, hikers, rock climbers, outdoor retailers, and hunting outfitters.  One would think that such a mix would lead to conflict and distract from the mission.  In fact, our hosts did talk about this.  A group of hunters were upset about the inclusion of Patagonia in this coalition based upon Patagonia’s opposition to certain types of hunting.  Basically, because the likes of Patagonia belong to another “camp” or “tribe”, these disgruntled hunters did not want to associate with them…even though they all had a Common purpose.

Maybe they feared the ideology of the other camp may rub off on them.  Maybe by associating with them, they feared that it would give strength to the issues with which they do not agree.  Most likely, they have been so influenced by the Dividers, that they fear associating with such folks will begin the slippery slope into Hell.  I am sure that some of the anti-hunting coalition members had similar Fears.

This Fear is exactly what the Dividers want.  Divide and Conquer.  In fact, this tactic was used by Sen. Mike Lee in a speech that he gave in support of turning over federal Public Land to the states.  In this speech, he compared Public Lands to “royal forests” of England, places for the “elite” to play at the expense of the common man. Us v. Them  Those that wish to protect such Public Lands are environmental “extremists.”  I would hardly call Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, an organization dedicated to protection and conservation of Public Lands, an environmental extremist group.

Our friends at the Hunting Collective saw through this tactic.  Instead of succumbing to Fear and Division, they focused on our Commonality:  protection of Public Lands.  The coalition may differ on how they use these lands, but they have a Common interest in protecting these Public Lands for themselves and generations to come.

Standing together on Common Ground not only strengthens us when we agree, but it also makes it easier to get together on other matters in which we may disagree.  Getting to know each other and seeing each other as Fellows, not as enemies.  This allows us to have a Conversation and Listen to each other, instead of shouting at and ignoring.  The Conversation may lead to Awareness and Understanding of the perspective and concerns of the other, which may result in Solutions – beyond the false all or nothing choice.

Starting on Common Ground also allows us to see that those in other “tribes” are not the evil ones that the forces of Division want us to see them as.  When we see that we are actually Fellows, we are not so quick to dismiss.  Knowing that the other side is not always wrong allows us to also question what we have been told to believe.  We become Aware that our “side” (Us) is not always entirely right and that They are not always entirely wrong.  Having an open-mind to other ideas and critical of our own will bring us all to the Common Ground…much to the dismay of our Dividers.

In my own personal journey, I have had to shed old ideas or right and wrong.  I have learned to look at things that I was told was the “Truth” with criticism.  This is necessary for my growth.

The “Burning Bush” is everywhere.  It speaks to us and we need to always listen for the Wisdom that is being conveyed.  I am Grateful to my Fellows at the Hunting Collective for being the Burning Bush and sharing this Wisdom.

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