July 4, 2017
Home of the Brave
“Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows.”
-Robert Green Ingersoll
I’m way behind in my journal writing. Too many things happening! And time is going by faster and faster. If only there were a pause button… :)
With all that’s been going on in the news lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the great American divide. After our most recent presidential election, it does feel like that gap has widened and deepened.
There is evidence of this everywhere, especially online. I read Twitter and Facebook posts filled with commentary chains, jabs being tossed back and forth from all sides. Americans are armed for battle in what feels like a warfare of verbal disputes. The question that begs my attention is this: how do we move forward? It is often said that the presence of a common enemy unites, and history shows us this often works. Although I have to admit I want more for our country and our world.
I hope we can be more grown-up and do better than wait passively for a common enemy to put us back in the business of being friendly neighbors. We have to get to a place where we can disagree passionately and still sit down at the table and love one another.
As a nation (actually, the same applies internationally), we are family. Sure, there are disagreements. But instead of waiting for some parental force to step in, to patrol us and keep things in line, we have to be mature enough to police ourselves and reinstate mutual respect in familial ties.
It won’t be an easy feat. We all have passionate feelings about how to make this country better. We all have strong emotions around protecting civil liberties and how best to track that course. I’m not immune to any of the emotions that can run hot when discussing the betterment of our country and our world.
But in times of heated reactions, we can challenge ourselves to do the opposite of what is often a knee-jerk reaction. Instead of lashing out, we can simply support our true feelings compassionately and be okay with disagreeing.
This is the area where America needs more practice. It is human nature to want solidarity, to feel a sense of closeness with whom we think one and the same. And when those inflammatory instincts of betrayal surge, we have to stop ourselves from attacking our neighbors in the name of treason.
That is the challenge of today and for years to come. We can all be better at being okay with different points of view, as long as those views are peacefully expressed. And when the comfort of consensus does not fall in our lap, we can still sit down together at the table and be a family.