The Roundabout: Battleground or Common Ground?


I put the wrong contact lens in today, and I couldn’t see anything clearly. I struggled with it all day.  I tried to make it work, and the more I messed with it, the more irritated my eye became.  The world grew out of focus which threw me off balance.  Finally, I realized I didn’t need to make this one work; I just needed a new lens.

Is there anything in your life that could benefit from looking at it through a clearer lens?  Are you stuck in an area that needs you to reframe your viewpoint?  Are you at odds with an issue or a person in your life?  Are you needed on the battleground or are you being called to nurture common ground?

I have to admit, the whole Clay Street/Cedar Ravine Roundabout issue has thrown me for a bit of a loop (pun definitely intended).  We seem to be stuck in a cycle of mistrust which is frustrating and destructive, and it continues to make this issue into a battleground.

The question is, how can we move from a battleground to common ground?…and that’s where I have been stuck.  Before taking new ground, it’s important to get yourself set.  The challenge is, what are we setting for?  It should be a conscious choice.

You see, I’ve been trying to set for battle.   I’ve bristled at the blows and reacted to the struggle.  I have been assessing our armor to see what we should use to come out swinging. I’ve asked myself what weapons of warfare were needed to not only defend our position but to fight back.  And this is where I have needed a new lens.

It is our choice whether we step onto the battlefield and become part of the struggle.  It is also our choice to be curious enough to reframe our viewpoint and invite new insights and direction.

I have come to see our calling and responsibility not to arm ourselves for the battleground but to set ourselves for common ground.

…To examine our motives and make sure they are sound and just.

…To check and eradicate any sense of ego or defense that has no place or value in reaching for commonality.

…To still emotion within us that would capture the barb thrown from another’s bow, recognizing that we can’t stop the barb from being thrown and yet understanding we don’t have to catch it.

…To stand firm enough in our intent and purpose to remain calm in the middle of the struggle and resolved to move through conflict to resolution.

…To have the strength to open ourselves up to another’s viewpoint and perspective in order to think critically about an issue, knowing that answers are found through an intelligent, enlightened perspective.

…To be curious enough to discover why there is opposition on an issue and be transparent enough so that opposing parties understand each other…to move from reactionary anger to understanding.

…To recognize that reaching for commonalities doesn’t weaken our position, it allows us to move forward more informed, more creative, and more intent on inviting possibility.

…To understand that meeting on a battlefield destroys while common ground creates.

Our responsibility is to be so clear that common ground is possible to find, nurture and build that we are able to refocus…with this new lens, the way forward gets clearer.

I find it interesting that the torch that burns atop the Druid monument stands for light, for the understanding that dispells darkness, and it reminds us as a society to teach and embody the principles of brotherhood, friendship and good works.  That sounds like common ground to me.


Comments (5)

  1. hugh hoeger

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I agree it is important to realize this is not a battle, but a difference of opinion as to the best way to balance the historical aspects and often funky charm of OUR town ( meaning everyone who loves Placerville) with the need to maintain the important infrastructure. There’s financial, political and emotional forces all at work, along with just plain stubbornness. And often not recognized by locals,there are numerous and sometimes seemingly arbitrary state and federal mandates and regulations
    -a complex brew of interests. Funny how a minor issue in a small town can be a microcosm of national politics.
    I highly suggest keeping the dialogue as open and transparent as possible, especially letting the citizens know just how constrained the city is by outside regulation, and who benefits and who doesn’t from proposed changes.
    Thanks for all you do- whether or not we agree on all issues, I know you come from a place of integrity.

    Hugh Hoeger

    1. (Post author)

      Thank you, Hugh, for your excellent analysis of the “complex brew of interests” and the restraints in which we have to operate. I look forward to finding the best resolution to this issue for the benefit of the entire community, and I’m confident we can do that. Thanks again.


  2. Roger Wilcox

    This posting is interesting and caused me to look at this “intersection” as a good example of what the City is facing, both in it’s physical appearance and it’s constituents’ viewpoints. The photo you use in your posting is one viewpoint of what the City should look like. If one were to walk round about 90 degrees and shoot a photo across the Druid Monument you would have a completely different feeling of the character of the City. I see this intersection as more than simply a roundabout enabling much more efficient traffic movement through an already confusing convergence point (you go, no you go, no really you go). It is an opportunity to move beyond the mere pavement boundaries and provide strong impetus and positive direction for betterment of the existing built environment at an important intersection in the City. We can all move forward and do better without damaging our established roots. Entrenched minds meeting open minds. Listen, do not just wait to talk. A good solution is waiting to be discovered. Here’s hoping from the eternal springs.

    All the best,

    Roger Wilcox

    1. (Post author)

      Wonderful, elevated ideas, Roger…I continue to learn and be inspired. I appreciate the concept of “moving forward without damaging our established roots.” I think that’s what we should always be looking for as we grapple with these issues. You have given me continued food for thought…thank you.

  3. w88

    Good occupation here. I truly enjoyed what you had to say.


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