Let's Be Open to Learning

There is so much that I don't know!

Back in my college days while taking a course called, *Christianity and Politics* I came to understand a supremely important truth."We're all bozos on this bus."

As I've thought long and hard about what I can offer to better help and support the people of Carroll County, District 5 (and indeed the entire citizenry of the great State of New Hampshire), I keep reminding myself that there is so much we can learn from one another.

Whatever it is that I think I know, it is based on my personal perspective, an intimate storyline, a life made up of literally countless twists and turns that have created the only Knute Ogren that exists right now. It's impossible for someone to somehow just know how I think. And I can't possibly know the other's perspective either. We have to listen and ask questions and take a risk to trust. When we open ourselves to learning about another's journey, another's perspective, it's more difficult for us to end up in our little tribes of comfort and familiarity. That tribal nature can be so harmful!

What would it look like were each one of us to be honest and humble ... recognizing that there are a lot of valuable resources in our community ... that, when harnessed, those resources can make us better than before?

I hope that the people of Carroll County, District 5 can be open to learning. I think that if we all open ourselves up to learning more, we can be stronger and better neighbors.

Let's Build Consensus

People will disagree on any number of topics (because we're all different!) and some of those disagreements will be fueled by quite a bit of passion. I think of my old friend, B.A. Johnson who said to me (tongue in cheek), "You know, Knute ... if everyone would just do what I say, everything would turn out much better." Then we'd laugh. If everyone participating in a discussion insists that they themselves, and they alone, are right -- gee whiz, where do we go from there?

We are neighbors who have a common goal for basic survival, for healthy communities, for a place where each one will be treated fairly. During the years leading to the founding of the United States of America, rigorous debate was of the greatest value. But consensus was essential. The ability to find common ground so that the community could move forward together with strength -- it was vital. And it's vital now, too.

What would it look like if each one was able to recognize, that while their position may be solid and supported by the data, it's rarely the case there is ONLY one right answer? What would it look like if each one of us was able to be in healthy communication with the rest of the community so that every view could be heard, and understood, and taken under consideration? What would it look like if, in the end, most of us could find a way to compromise?

Oh, I know ... there will always be the ones on the far left who will absolutely insist on nothing less than their sense of things. And there will be the ones on the far right who will absolutely insist on nothing less than their own sense of things. I get it. But I think most people -- most people are willing to find that common ground. Most people are willing to learn the facts, listen to the biggest worries, and find consensus to reach a decision that will most positively impact the WHOLE community and negatively impact as few people as possible.

I hope the people of Carroll County, District 5 will join me in believing that the best way forward is to work together to build consensus.

Let's Rely on Data

When I talk to people who know the most about statistics, I'm humbled by the notion that there are all kinds of ways to use data to make a case for the support for any number of positions. It's why it's essential that we be as smart as possible when it comes to the facts that we share.

I believe that data can be a powerful tool. Data in the hands of really smart and talented people is a gift. When those smart and talented people offer their sense of things to the world -- maybe it's through an article or a speech or a research project -- it's wonderful when other smart and talented people in that same field offer pushback. I put a lot of value in letting a particular field's experts volley back and forth as they come to a determination of what seems to be true.

Experts are trained to understand an issue, a problem, a situation, or a diagnosis in such a way that almost everyone else could never be able to understand. Experts have peers -- other experts who know the issue, problem, situation, or diagnosis just as well as them. Experts collect data and think really, really hard and push back at each other over a long period of time. They "argue" about it and study these arguments in really healthy ways.

I trust experts because experts are the ones who have cured diseases, have brought about a decrease in air and water pollution, have figured out some incredibly important economic understandings that have made this country as strong as it has been for decades now, have determined how electricity and sewage and transportation needs are met, and have put planes in the air and rocket ships into orbit and submarines deep into the oceans.

Data is important and it is among the foundational pieces that has always made the United States so freaking fantastic. I hope that we can be people who, when we find ourselves disagreeing on an issue, can be humble and let the data help to determine the best direction. The experts are glad to use the data to help us learn. Join me in trusting what the experts have to say about how the great state of New Hampshire can be better next year than it is now!

Let's Insist on Decency

There are lots of opinions held in Carroll County, District 5.

I don't imagine District 5 is unlike most any other district in New Hampshire, to be honest. There are all kinds of sensibilities, and thoughts about how things really ought to be, and passionate opinions about how we -- the people of the great state of New Hampshire -- should move ahead together.

For me, that word *together* is the most important word. Even though there are all kinds of things that seem to divide people from one another, I'm convinced that there is WAY, WAY more that connects us to one another. When the poop hits the fan, we need to be remembering that neighborly support and encouragement is a part of the New Hampshire citizen's wiring. I hope that this campaign effort can be part of reminding all of us -- myself, included -- that we actually need each other. Just as it's in my personal best interest that I have a good, strong, independent, capable, engaged, informed neighbor, it's in my neighbor's best interest that they have in me a good, strong, independent, capable, engaged, informed neighbor.

My neighbor, my fellow citizen, my fellow American -- he/she/they deserve every single right that every other American has been promised. Whether my neighbor looks like me, speaks with the same accent that I do, loves another the same kind of way I do, feels similarly encouraged or similarly disappointed in our political leadership ... we are better when each one of us insists that every single person is deserving of being treated with decency.

I happen to think that most everyone in Carroll County, District 5 feels the same way! We may disagree on any number of things. But let's be people who insist that the work that we do together for the sake of the citizens of New Hampshire be done with a spirit of decency.

© 2020 Knute Ogren. All rights reserved.