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Posts Tagged ‘world view’

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Photo: Christa Case Bryant/Christian Science Monitor
Krista Badiane, a sustainability consultant, is raising two daughters with her Senegalese husband in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She always imagined settling on the East or West Coast but says it would be hard to recreate the quality of life they have in Michigan.

The country is divided, or so commentators tell us over and over. Sometimes I wonder if it’s exaggerated. Many of us make a point of enjoying all the things we have in common with folks whose politics seem to be different.

In a recent article, we also learn that when people start living side-by-side with those who have a different world view, benefits rub off in both directions.

Christa Case Bryant writes at the Christian Science Monitor, “Aaron Ofseyer and his wife, Anne Rosenbaum, planned on staying a few years, but eight years later they’re still in Grand Rapids. They’ve bought a house, had two children, joined a synagogue, gotten library cards, and are regulars at cultural events. Like many transplants from costly coastal cities, they find Grand Rapids to be welcoming and affordable. …

“Ofseyer and Ms. Rosenbaum also like the diversity of political viewpoints that gets them out of their liberal bubble. When they eat out in hip neighborhoods, they sometimes look over to see fellow diners praying or holding a Bible study group.

“ ‘We’re forced to confront people who are different than us … [and] even though politically you might have a different frame of reference, there’s way more that unites us than divides us politically,’ says Ofseyer. …

“Across the country, young professionals are carving out a new niche in second-tier cities where their wages go further. Most are seeking a more affordable lifestyle, as well as a stronger sense of community and the opportunity to make more of an impact. That this movement is largely from Democratic-run cities to conservative corners of the country raises questions over what political values may emerge, and whether it’s possible to find common ground in a hyper-partisan era. …

“Says Joel Kotkin, executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism, ‘It’ll be interesting to see whether we see a new politics, which combines some of the social values of the blue states with some of the cultural beliefs of the red states,’ like religion, community, and self-sufficiency. …

“Among young professionals who do migrate, there is a strong desire for community, says Anne Snyder, a writer and scholar who studies civil society in small and mid-sized cities. Their formative years were shaped by disillusionment with politics and distrust of institutions such as marriage.

“ ‘I think Millennials are just so hungry – hungrier than their predecessors were – to experience the sense of belonging that I think is a timeless need and desire, and have not wound up finding it in their national political expression,’ says Ms. Snyder, a millennial herself.

“That makes the social-media generation less ideological and eager to make a practical contribution wherever they live. ‘The things that matter most are serving your community, people in the flesh,’ she says.”

More at the Christian Science Monitor, here. I’d love to hear how you maintain friendly relations across real or perceived political divides in your world.

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