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Our community was originally built as a vacation destination. Many of the homes are still owned by absentee landowners. With homes being rented by vacationers we experience a wide range of neighbors who stay for a week or two.

Hanging out at our pool gives us some pleasant moments listening to the sounds of folks enjoying vacations in the Sunshine State. The house two down from us is on a cul-d-sac with the pool facing our pool.   Since we moved in we have seen folks from Asia, Spanish speaking countries, Canada (we understood most of what they said.), Scandinavia and Europe. The family’s come here to enjoy the warm sun and experience the many attractions Orlando offers.

I have noticed with much pleasure how all the children sound the same! Oh, I may not understand the words they are using but they all sound the same: shrieks of glee, laughter, arguments about who won as they splash in the pool and banter with the adults.

This realization got me thinking about the Stevie Wonder Paul McCartney duet “Ebony and Ivory”.

The verse goes like this, “We all know that people are the same wher’ver you go There is good and bad in ev’ryone, We learn to live, when we learn to give

Each other what we need to survive, together alive. The chorus has this to say; “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony, Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why don’t we?

Yes, why don’t we? We live in a time when many folks believe our problems can be alleviated with simple fixes. These folks believe they have the only answer and are unwilling to see other possibilities. Well, our problems are not simple and the solutions are even more complicated.

Before our time runs out as a Nation we must recognize that what is an answer for someone in Nebraska is not the same answer for someone in Atlanta to address an issue.

A white person in Kansas will not have the same answer to a problem as an Asian living in Southern California. A college graduate will not see the solution the same way a high school dropout sees it. Spouses don’t see the same solution to a problem and they live in the same house. Add a teenager or two to that house and you have a multitude of solutions to every day existence. My daughter, Sarah and I can’t agree on which baseball team to support. She is an Atlanta Braves fan (I must have failed as a father.) But we have lots of fun picking on each other when our team is doing better. Sarah has the bragging rights now because her Braves beat my Pirates   on an exciting play at the plate to end the game we were watching at ESPN Wide World of Sports Champion Stadium.

Life is not simple or easy. If we keep electing people to public office who think there are easy solutions to living in the United States, we are doomed to spiral deeper and deeper into absurdity.

 The President of the seminary when I was attending once said something to the affect that: Ministry is like eating a plate of spaghetti. You never know what will be affected when you pull on the end of a piece of spaghetti. Well, that is a profound thought!

Our problems are major: saving the environment, healthcare for everyone, taxes, maintaining our infrastructure, defending our citizens from those who would harm us, keeping the streets safe for everyone, jobs, education for all the children, accepting each other for who we are, too much wealth concentrated in too few people.

The answers to these problems are not simple. Finding solutions begins when we recognize that there are as many solutions to the problems as there are folks living here. Finding solutions will take a long time (it took us over 200 years to find ourselves in this pickle.) and patient and respectful debate. It behooves us to find leaders who understand how hard it is to find a solution and elect them to public offices. We have been foolishly electing people who tell us what we want to hear and how they can give us everything we want at no cost.  Shame on us for being so gullible. We keep electing folks who spend too much time blaming other people for our problems. Shame on us for thinking someone else is to blame.

Finding solutions to the Nation’s issues begins with us being smart enough to recognize that if it looks too good to be true-it probably is!

Why can’t we begin to enjoy the cacophony of noise that is a Nation of diverse people and respectfully strive for solutions to our many problems?

See you next time.