A lot of us complained about how we were forced to choose between these two candidates for President – the lesser of two evils – but what if two good men or women had been running?  Who would you choose then?  

Would you have voted with your declared party affiliation? What kind of vitriol would still be spewed when your candidate didn’t win?  

Good or bad, it’s human nature to choose sides. We say things like “we’re different;” “we’re not like them.” And, we like to put people into groups.  We place blame on others so we don’t have to look at our own failures. That’s easier, and it’s been happening since the beginning of time.

We are a nation divided.

Just take a look at the voting maps if you don’t agree.  In most of the states you will see a clear difference in the voting patterns of large city dwellers versus suburbia and rural areas.  The country mouse and the city mouse, the prince and the pauper: We live in completely different worlds.  What’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander, you know.

So how do we find peace with our neighbors?  

That’s a hard question these days, and I don’t have a real answer for it.  

Most likely, you will not see eye to eye on certain issues, and that’s okay.  Progress comes when we move forward together, realizing different places and people need different things to survive and thrive.

The ‘country mouse’ might not see the homeless crisis, while the ‘city mouse’ doesn’t see towns built on the backs of oil refineries and coal mines.  The ‘city mouse’ lives amongst overpopulation, pollution, drug decriminalization and high crime rate while the ‘country mouse’ lives among green fields, low populations, increased substance abuse and poorly paid police officers.  

We need to see each other’s problems as real and concerning before we can tackle them. A “not my problem” attitude is not the solution,  rather it is the dangerous kitty in this analogy – the one that will eat you alive if you are not careful.

Will we ever see eye to eye? Of course not! But, if we tread in kindness, if we spend our time serving others instead of serving ourselves, and if we look to a greater good, we will start to see hearts soften and minds open.

Contention will never bring resolution or peace. We need to find some common ground and plant flowers there to show everyone else just how beautiful working together can be.  

Remember, it starts with you. I challenge you to wake up every day and do just one good thing for someone else – one thing to bring someone joy.  I guarantee the people you see as your enemies will shrink in number, and regardless of your stance on topic A or topic B, you will be friends and loved ones first and foremost.  

Be the kind mouse. It’s really the only kind of mouse to be.

• Stephanie Bell is Executive Director of Pierce County Family Connection.