The loud voices get most of the attention. By loud voices I mean the major sources of news, mainstream news media like NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and big social media like Google, Facebook, and Instagram. But just because they are the loudest does not mean that what they say is true. We created The Unity Project because the media giants are sending and reverberating a message of division. A division that they themselves are perpetuating in the hope of doing more business. We on the ground in Washington DC were not seeing this. We were working, playing golf, and interacting with our friends from multiple political persuasions, and cultures, as we had been doing for the last twenty years. Our families were getting together for birthdays, weddings, and other occasions to celebrate. We were sharing insights to help each other grow our businesses, and we were spending hours of fun over cigars, a scotch, and some good stories. We have many different points of view but remain committed to one another in unity. Until today, we have an authentic love and respect for each other. So, we began The Unity Project first and foremost to show that unity still exists in America.
Unity does not mean conformity. Healthy disagreement is good, even essential, to having a strong society. The Unity Project believes that unity has been key to America’s success. When unity is threatened, America gets weaker. It weakens America when someone can get hurt or killed because they wear a certain political slogan on a cap or shirt. We don’t all have to believe the same. Diversity of belief is healthy. In life “no man is an island” and being an American is a team sport. We may have different positions, but like a good football team, we can coordinate our efforts for a common goal. We need to work together and collaborate to win the game of life. Of course, there have been examples of division in the history of our country, but whether it was the civil war or the civil rights movement, good people have united to fight for constitutional and human rights.
The goals of The Unity Project are to:
1. Find common ground
2. Implement solutions and
3. Disagree respectfully.
We work together to fulfill our common goals and listen to and debate the issues on which we have a difference of opinion. When I was in eighth grade, I was on the debate team. In organized debate two individuals are given a topic like electric cars versus cars that run on gasoline. Individual A must make a factual argument in favor of E Cars while individual B must defend the use conventional gas burning cars. After 15 minutes, they must change and argue the opposite position. A defends gas and B argues in favor of electric. As you can imagine, this allows everyone to see the other point of view. We need to bring debate teams back to our schools!
The Unity Project motto wraps it up nicely “Diversity of thought, Unity in spirit.” Many differences of opinion are petty. We saw this example when Americans set their differences aside and became as one after the September 11 attacks. Unity makes us stronger, unbreakable. But division makes us weak and vulnerable to attack. As it is said, “United we stand, divided we fall”
The Unity Project challenges you to examine yourselves and the way we interact with others. We ask ourselves, “was that thought a unifying thought or a thought of division.” Do not allow big media to manipulate your opinion of your fellow American. They are just focused on their profits. Let’s have a conversation. Instead of lashing out or tuning out someone who disagrees, lets ask them one question, why? Why do you feel that way? And really listen to the answer. That is how we get the conversation started. The Unity Project stands for this kind of healthy debate, and is committed to demonstrating to the media and to the world that we have and can still grow unity in America.