March 15, 2019,
all around the world,
are being held by students.
are being held in
over 100 countries.
Inspired by Greta Thunberg,
a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden,
students across the globe
have walked out of school today
in an effort to bring awareness
to the urgent climate crisis facing our planet.
Hundreds of thousands of children
have voiced their concern about climate change
in the past 24 hours.
What are WE going to do about it?
This truly is one of the ultimate
What good is finding common ground
if there is no ground left
on which to stand together?
Talk to your friends.
Talk to your family.
Talk to your neighbors.
What are the purple points
around the issue of climate change?
We may not all agree
on the causes
of climate change,
we can agree
that we must
take collective action
to provide better
of our planet for
to work on this
we need to
Finding common ground,
one conversation at a time.
That's our goal at
The Purple Living Room Project .
Polarization is the problem.
There are many ways
to be part of the
We're putting together
a resource page for this website
and we'd like to hear from you...
or other resources
finding common ground?
Let us know in the comments
or email your thoughts to
We'd like to compile these and
share them with our community.
However you approach
the challenge of finding common ground...
Thanks for being part of the solution!
Do you remember the old playground taunt?
Whatever you say
Bounces off ME
and sticks to
It seems like this is the level of our public discourse lately.
Scroll through any comment section
on the internet these days
and you'll find
a vibrant mix of insults
being hurled back and forth...
The problem is,
we're not made out of rubber...
our society is made out of glue.
to us all.
We are all
responsible for how
we treat each other
We need to take
for the problem...
and fix it.
Imagine a world
filled with compliments...
We the People
have the power to change
the quality of our public discourse.
But it requires us all to choose
when faced with contempt.
We can do it,
Let's share the
with our friends,
our internet forums!
We hear every year that the state of our union is strong.
We heard it again this week.
What do you think?
Does our union feel strong?
Does it feel like we are united in our efforts?
Here is how George Washington concluded the first
State of the Union address back in 1790...
"The welfare of our Country is the great object
to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed.
And I shall derive great satisfaction from a co-operation with you,
in the pleasing though arduous task of ensuring to our fellow Citizens the blessings,
which they have a right to expect,
from a free, efficient and equal Government."
Let's try to harness that sense of
We the People
for improving the
State of our Union
Our nation is open for business again.
We're open for three weeks...
Let's not let this happen again.
Congress can pass an
"automatic continuing resolution"
which makes sure government is funded,
even when our leaders can't agree on the budget.
There have been many attempts to do this over the years...
usually, right after a shutdown.
All have failed.
As you can imagine,
lawmakers disagree about how to do this...
or even if it's the best course of action...
But it would be something
that would make sure our nation stays
If you feel strongly about this,
let your representatives know!
We're working on a letter that you can
share with your friends
and send to your representatives.
More on that next week...
In the meantime,
as we find our nation
for business once again,
Keep our minds
Keep our hearts
to each other.
What do you see in this picture?
We all look at the world in our own unique way.
the internet exploded again
over a viral video.
Liberals and Conservatives
viewed the same input
and walked away with
This seems to happen often lately.
Let's challenge ourselves
to step back
and try to see the whole picture.
There are no easy answers
to the challenges
that face our nation...
But we can only begin
to find solutions
when we stop fighting
like cats and dogs
about whether we see
cats or dogs
and start trying to truly see
We've now reached the
the longest government shutdown
in our nation's history.
We're stuck on a wall.
is keeping us so
as a nation.
However you feel about it,
Let's not let this wall divide us.
Let's look for ways to build bridges instead.
Here's a story to help us on our journey...
Old Joe and the Carpenter
adapted from a telling by Pleasant de Spain
in Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About
by, Margaret Read MacDonald
(used with permission)
Old Joe lived way out in the countryside.
He had one good neighbor.
They’d been friends and neighbors all their lives.
But for the first time in their long friendship,
they had an argument.
It was a silly argument.
It was over a stray calf that neither one really needed.
The calf was found on the neighbor's land
and so he claimed it as his own.
But Old Joe said,
"No, that calf has the same markings as my favorite cow
and I'm sure it's mine."
Well, they were both a bit stubborn,
so they just stopped talking to each other.
And it seemed that a dark cloud had settled over Old Joe...
until there came a knock on his door.
He wasn’t expecting anyone that morning
and as he opened the door,
he saw standing before him a young man
who had a box of tools on his shoulder.
The young man said,
"I’m just a carpenter and I’m looking for a bit of work.
Would you have some small jobs here and there
that I could help with? "
Old Joe said,
"I do have a job for you.
Look right there through my kitchen window.
See that farm over there?
That’s my neighbor's place.
And you see that creek running
right between our property lines?
That creek wasn’t there last week.
My neighbor did that just to spite me!
He took his plow up there with the tractor
and he dug a furrow from the upper pond
and then he flooded it.
Well, I want you to do one better.
Since he wants us divided that way,
you go out there and build me a fence--
a big, tall fence--
so I won’t even have to see his place."
And the carpenter said,
"Well, if you have the lumber and the nails,
I have my tools and I can do a job that you'll like."
Joe had to go into town,
so he showed the carpenter
where everything was in the barn.
The carpenter carried everything he needed
down to the creek and he started to work.
He did his measuring...
and his sawing...
and his nailing...
It was about sunset
when Old Joe returned
and the carpenter had already
finished his work.
Old Joe's eyes opened wide and his mouth fell open...
because there wasn't a fence there at all.
It was a bridge,
going from one side of the creek to the other!
It was a fine piece of work.
Old Joe saw his neighbor starting to cross
from the other side of that bridge
with his hand stretched out in friendship.
His neighbor said,
"Joe, you’re quite a fellow to build this bridge.
I would never have been able to do that.
I’m so glad we’re going to be friends again!"
Old Joe put his arms around his neighbor and said,
"Oh, that calf is yours. I’ve known it all the time.
I just want to be your friend, too."
The carpenter started putting his tools in the box
and then hoisted it up onto his shoulder.
As he started to walk away, Old Joe said,
"Now wait, come on back!
We want you to stay.
My friend and I could find many projects for you."
The carpenter just smiled and said,
"I'd like to stay on, Joe, but you see, I can’t.
I have many more bridges to build."
The partial government shutdown is getting real this week.
Our national parks are full of litter.
Our Smithsonian museums are closed to visitors.
Our scientists at NOAA and NASA are unable to carry out research.
Our food is not being checked by the FDA.
800,000 of our Federal employees
are not receiving their paychecks this week.
Our TSA and our Coast Guard
report to work to keep us safe
without those paychecks.
All the while,
we're watching a
staring contest unfold.
Who will blink first?
Democrats or Republicans?
This drama is just another act in the
"US vs. THEM"
spectacle that has started to define our government.
The more important question is...
While everything around us is shutting-down,
We the People
keep our hearts
and our minds
Let's make an effort to...
Reach out to help those in our communities
who are affected by the shutdown.
Let's continue to...
Let's tell our representatives how we feel about the shutdown.
There are ways to FIX this process
so that the budget is never again
held hostage by partisan politics.
Let's tell Congress
that we expect
our government to
And we expect
to stay open
to finding common ground...
good of the nation.
Happy New Year!
It’s the time for New Year’s Resolutions…
Have you made any?
In addition to eating well
and getting more exercise,
here are a few
you might consider adding
to your list for 2019…
Resolution # 1
Let's resolve to seek out different perspectives
and to listen mindfully,
with the goal of building empathy
and finding common ground.
Resolution # 2
Let's resolve to be kind
in our words and actions,
giving others the respect and care
that we would like to be given.
Resolution # 3
COMMUNICATE WITH CONGRESS
Let's resolve to let our congressional representatives
know where we’ve found common ground
and let's hold Congress accountable for taking
positive action for our country.
Perhaps if we all make these resolutions,
we can leave the land of gridlock
and government shutdowns...
and create a truly new nation,
ready to work together in
"Meet in the Middle" is a Purple Living Room campaign encouraging people from across the political spectrum to meet together each week in order to find common ground. Each middle of the week (WEDNESDAY!) we'll post an update on Purple Living Room Project activities. Share YOUR progress on our Facebook group page or in the comments here. Our goal?