As the storm of perhaps the most polarizing election in our nation’s history begins to wane, in its wake we are left with the wreckage of hyperpolarization and distrust among fellow Americans.

What have we become as people in this, the greatest country on earth?

We are so hyperpolarized that we see only our differences rather than what we have in common. One only needs to look at the lives that havebeen so tragically lost during this pandemic to realize how much our focus has been placed on politics and ideology rather than the medical issue itself and human suffering.

How did we get here?

In his book, Why We’re Polarized, Ezra Klein explains that the polarizationisa result of the alignment of multiple identities, exacerbated by the media that deliberately takes advantage of our emotional, reactive and irrational selves.

Where should we go from here?

A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. The first step in overcoming polarization is to find common ground.

Common ground is the cornerstone of resolving conflicts. More than simply a compromise, it generates a new vision of shared interests and values, discovered through collaboration. 

Common ground gives us the best opportunity to identify and avoid the manipulation of our emotional selves by those who benefit from increasing our division. It allows us to focus on information and rational analysis rather than raw emotions and impulsive reactions.  

Common ground reminds us that we all have a shared humanity on Spaceship Earth. Our opinionsmaydiffer, but we are not enemies. We need to separate the position from the person and policy from value in order to have more civil discourse. The Bible backs this up: “Treat your neighbor as you want to be treated yourself.”

As a young man, I escaped China’s from being deported to labor camps for life without reason. I have come to appreciate the freedom and mutual respect we enjoy here in America, exemplified beautifully by this famous saying, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.”

Common ground allows us to stand in the shoes of others, and look at issues from their perspectives. We need to learn to speak in the language of the listener, since doing so will lead to greater understanding and empathy towards each other.

Each of us has a limited life experience and therefore, limited viewpoints. When we get along with someone who has dissimilar views based on a different life experience, we learn and grow as individuals. In fact, we learn the most when we communicate with people who have views opposite our own!

Through a genuine, productive process of finding common ground, we will be inspired to change and become better human beings who are more willing to work cohesively with others. This is the key to navigating these tumultuous times and achieving the goal of America's motto: “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one).  

Dr. Ming Wang, Harvard & MIT (MD, magna cum laude); PhD

Dr. Ming Wang, Harvard & MIT (MD, magna cum laude); PhD (laser physics), is a world-renowned laser eye surgeon, philanthropist and a co-founder of the non-profit Common Ground Network, which is dedicated to Dr. Wang’s lifelong mission to help people find common ground.

As a teenager, Ming fought valiantly to escape China from being deported to remote areas to face a life sentence of hard labor and poverty. He came to America with only $50 and earned two doctorate degrees, one in laser physics and one in medicine, and graduated with the highest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT.

Dr. Wang has published 10 ophthalmology textbooks, over 100 scientific papers--including one in the world-renowned journal “Nature”--and performed the world’s first laser artificial cornea implantation. He has performed well over 55,000 procedures including on over 4,000 doctors.

Wang Foundation for Sight Restorationhas helped patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries worldwide, with all sight restoration surgeries performed free-of-charge. Dr. Wang was named the Kiwanis Nashvillian of the Year for his lifelong dedication to helping blind, orphaned children from around the world.

Dr. Wang’s autobiography, “From Darkness to Sight,” is currently being made into a movie.

Dr. Ming Wang, MD, PhD can be reached by email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on his website: He is a co-founder of the 501c(3) non-profit Common Ground Network (, which is currently publishing Common Ground Bible Study, the first book of its kind about the concept of common ground for Christians.