Throughout the 2012 election process I have wondered – are we as a people just red or just blue? Is our nation really this polarized? Are we, as some pundits suggest, mortal enemies with other Americans, doomed to repeat this year’s obstructionist political gridlock? Or perhaps we are just reacting to compelling and effective extremist propaganda machines, and are victims of a conspiracy to polarize our country?

Not red or blue.

Recently I received this map in my inbox which seems to shed some light on the actual attitudes of our country. This voting information suggests that reds and blues coexist in the same communities, and that we live within a continuum of beliefs, rather than secluded to the red and blue extremes of the spectrum. Is it possible that we have plenty in common with people across party lines, and that we need to stop listening to manipulative and misleading remarks from the media?

Instead of buying into the fear-mongering, perhaps we can all start talking and listening to our neighbors? The perils of defining anything in stratified terms of black and white, or good or bad, has been the root of world evil from the beginnings of time, and tends to divide and alienate people. These tactics are often effective for mammoth corporations, brutal dictators and people drunk with power, but have never served us ordinary citizens.

Do we really want to create a future that resembles some of our past divisive history, such as the age of eugenics, the Crusades and the Holocaust? These are the types of destructive events that emerge out of a polarized society. Hopefully the message of this election will be a resounding vote to embrace the similarities between people across party lines and make strong alliances, rather than just demonizing and alienating our neighbors.

During this holiday season, and throughout the year, let us all please try to remember just how much we share and have in common with one another.