Debate over Returning Shopping Carts Mirrors Political Divide
I love a good story, well told. A powerful narrative can puncture our cynical veneers and inspire us to imagine, to empathize, even to act.
But in these polarized political times, I’m noticing how the stories we tell ourselves — or were told once upon a time and never bothered to fact-check — can have a profound impact on the way we carry ourselves through the world. And the assumptions we make about others.
You see it in the current immigration debate, as otherwise reasonable Americans shriek at one another, “They’re here to take our jobs!” “No, they’re criminals in the drug- and sex-trade!” “Nonsense, they’re asylum seekers escaping treacherous lands!” Surely the folks knocking at our borders include all of these archetypes and more — but our inner narratives, once written, resist editing. So the shrieking persists.
I saw this Story Scenario play out in another fascinating fracas recently. I happened upon a friend in the always-perilous Trader Joe’s parking lot. Having loaded groceries into her car and loath to lug her shopping cart all the way back to the store, she asked my opinion on the Age-Old Grocery Store Debate: Must we always return the cart? Like … every single time??