Friday, August 5, 2016

View from the Top

When I was growing up I learned this phrase: "Takes one to know one."  I've been using it for years as a response to compliments, but for some reason this morning I remembered that originally it was a taunt: if someone called you a bad name, you'd say, "Takes one to know one."

So now I'm thinking about all the wisdom contained in that one little phrase; that so much of what we see in others -- both good and bad -- is a reflection of our own strengths and weaknesses. 

And yet, how rarely we realize that, when we're pointing fingers at each other -- which means we can get involved in endless unresolvable arguments about who's the bad guy and who's at fault.

... which is why I posted this picture, taken at a family celebration dinner at Seattle's Space Needle this week.  The way out of those endless unresolvable arguments -- at least, this is what we were taught in grad school -- is to climb to the balcony; to rise above it; to take in the big picture, and realize we really NEED all those differing viewpoints; they make for a richer picture. 

What makes this image fun is the juxtaposition of opposites: the sky, and the sea; the mountains and the flatlands; the tall buildings and the short; the dark buildings and the light, the red and the blue... all of it combines in a way unique to this particular city, giving it its own brand of character and beauty.

What makes our country great is also the juxtaposition of viewpoints: the conservative and the progressive, small towns and cities, grounded/rooted and imaginative/free form, dark and light, rich and poor and everything in between.  There's room for all kinds -- that's a founding value -- and somehow we've managed to make that work.

I'm hoping we can continue that good work.

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