Though Americans have become more polarized politically and religiously over the past several decades, most of us still share more values in common than we tend to think. Our discussions and debates center around what divides us, leading us to forget what unites us. For example:
Most of us, whether liberal, or conservative, religious or nonreligious, are opposed to the beheading and burning of other human beings.
Most of us are opposed to killing in the name of religion or in the name of any Utopian ideology.
Most of us don’t want war unless we think it’s really necessary to save more lives than it takes.
Most of us want our populace to be literate and well educated.
Most of us want fair economic opportunity for all.
Most of us are happy when the economy grows and incomes rise for all accordingly.
Most of us don’t favor a widening gap over time between rich and poor, though we may differ on what to do about it, if anything.
Most of us don’t want people to judge each other simply on the basis of their racial background.
Most of us don’t want humans to be bought and sold and whipped for the labor they can provide their owners.
Most of us don’t want children to abused.
Most of us don’t want women to be raped.
Most of us want to live in safety, without fear of crime.
Most of us are happy when the rates of murder, burglary, teen pregnancies, suicides, STDs, and abortion decline.
Most of us are happy to see less misery not only in our country but in all countries around the world.
Most of us want to see children raised in loving families governed by responsible, productive, kind adults.
Most of us want our children to respect authority while thinking for themselves and asserting their independence of mind over time.
Most of us want as many individuals as possible to enjoy health coverage, rather than showing up in emergency rooms and being bailed out by hospitals, who pass on their expenses to those of us who do pay for services rendered.
Most of us want safe and smooth roads, clean water, functioning sewage systems, efficient electricity delivery systems, and a functional mail service.
Most of us appreciate the presence of at least a minimal safety net that will buffer us from the vicissitudes of financial ruin and exposure, whether in our youth or in our old age.
Most of us value the freedom to believe what we think is true and to let others enjoy that same freedom, even if their idea of truth differs from our idea of truth.
Most of us don’t want to be given the middle finger.
Most of us want to be treated with respect
Most of us admire men and women who work hard to provide for their family, whether financially, physically, or emotionally.
Most of us think that those who work hard should enjoy greater compensation than those who don’t.
Most of us respect those who plan ahead for their future as they are able, rather than those who spend recklessly in the present without regard for the future.
Most of us appreciate the protection afforded us by our police, our firemen and women, and our military, even if we don’t agree with all their actions all the time.
Most of us are don’t see our police and our military as being beyond criticism when they abuse their power, violating the values most of us hold.
Most of us see value in our fellow human beings and restrain ourselves from harming them.
Most of us consider it wrong to kick a puppy or to skin a cat alive.
Most of us consider it a virtue to remain faithful to our spouses if we’ve agreed to do so.
Most of us consider it a virtue to tell the truth to each other, even if we often fall short.
See? We’re mostly on the same page! If only most of us acted like it! We’re in this great American experiment together, left and right, center and libertarian, atheist and fundamentalist, Christian and Muslim, JW and Scientologist, Obama loving and Obama hating, Bush loving and Bush hating. Cheers to all (except to extremists who want to undermine the values most of us share, especially the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)!