Adapt and move forward

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Change. Is it something to fear? Or perhaps something to embrace? We seem to all have different levels of change that are acceptable. Some will foster change and others will oppose any possible hint of change. For me, it has developed into a test of principles. I tend to generally oppose change that violates my core values and I suspect most of us would. Beyond that, I try to keep an undeveloped judgment.

But sometimes ... change can be an incredibly powerful and necessary action. We should remain open to fresh ideas, or even a resurgence of previous ones. Change can be a motivator or a necessary journey. We can collectively advocate it or individually oppose. Either way, in any form it is alive among all of us.

Recently I had the honor to speak to a group of friends about civility, change and how we adapt to each other moving forward. I am a believer in the 90/10 rule: If you agree with someone 90 percent of the time, then the 10 percent that you disagree on is not worth arguing about. It is unlikely you will find anyone out there you will agree with 100 percent of the time, so 90 percent is pretty darned good.

See where I am going with this? Take a look at our major political parties today. You will find extremists in either one and the resulting divide is incredibly destructive. Parties that should unite on 90 percent of the issues are falling apart over the few things they are divided on. And that old saying — "Divided we will fall" — holds true in politics, too, folks.

My best advice? Focus on what you agree on with someone. Find that common ground. Drop the anger issues, the destructive arguments, the personal attacks. If you are involved in politics and can't win on your own platform without a personal attack, well, then you really ought to think about embracing a change for the better.

Bringing the extremists to the center isn't about working across the aisle. It is about working within your own group effectively and with civility. And that will require change. A change we should all embrace and consider. A wise and trusted advisor once told me, "Change is hard at first, somewhat messy in the middle and often amazing at the end."

Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, is the Minnesota state representative for District 7B.