Nearly everyone today can notice that there is much division here in the United States. Whether it is simply along party lines, Democratic or Republican, or more issue-related, Second Amendment Rights to Gun Ownership, it is fairly obvious that a large rift currently exists in the minds of many of the people in our country.
In and of itself, differing ideas and differing outlooks and opinions are not necessarily a bad thing; they can provide insights into other perspectives and should be respectively investigated and approached. However, when these divisions become fundamental road blocks to plain and simple communication and interfere significantly with the basic requirement of individuals in a group getting along with each other, is that not important enough to set them aside?
Being a unified group (as in the one body of a country) or facing the alternative of letting our issues and political persuasions divide us to the place of ruinous destruction (i.e. being unwilling to see the other person–regardless of race, creed, religion or political persuasions–as fundamentally equal to ourselves and deserving of basic human rights of survival, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) are important considerations in light of the current atmosphere both here in the United States and perhaps worldwide. Being an election year and being in the grip of a formidable and elusive common enemy, it behooves the common, thinking person to make an effort, to express a willingness to see things through the eyes and from the perspective of the other person, in order to put the commonality of each of us first.
In my mind, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to adapt to the other person’s preference, but instead attempt to see why they see it that way. For example, a large part of our political persuasion is adapted from our parents, our backgrounds and other factors. Perhaps it is that reason, that a good friend or a co-worker, for example, has a strong political persuasion not our own. Wouldn’t it be better to understand where they are coming from rather than to dismiss their views and maybe even themselves as irrelevant, incompetent and some other negatively connotative viewpoint?
With the advent of Facebook, I too have noticed many relatives (and even good friends) who seem bent a certain way, different from my own, and am often surprised that they hold those views–in light of my personal understanding and relationship to them. This fact tells me something; that we are more unified than we actually know. If I can relate to them deeply and intimately as a close friend or even as a loving relative, then how can a difference in political understanding or issue-related opinion, seem to cause such a feeling of separation?
I think it is because the basic values of our human connection have become skewed or blurred. Titles and groupings have become more relevant than how we relate and communicate. It seems so simplistic, it is very hard to write about! But I know that it is true because when I look at person X and know that I appreciate and love that person so much, but yet when I see his/her posts and realize that they are standing directly opposite me on the other side of the political fence, then I know that something is wrong with the fence! Not the other person. They are genuine and I have connected deeply with them in life, but something (this unseen wall) has created division.
It is this wall that I seek to destruct.
Maybe our issues are not as paramount as they seem to have been? Maybe the effect of COVID-19 and the way our lives have changed and are changing, is teaching us the fundamental likeness of each of us, regardless of our political persuasions or even national orientations? Whether we are Chinese, American, North Korean or Iranian, this infectious disease can permeate the likeness of the human immune system. It is our common enemy, so therefore we are standing on common ground: the ground of being in human bodies. First and foremost. Before our country borders and our religious understanding and interpretations. Before our political beliefs and opinions about so many issues.
It is time for humanity to “grow up”, and stop acting as if “our way” is the right way and they are wrong. Instead, reach out a hand to help someone else in need and perhaps listen to the other person who may not see things the same way. Are we afraid? Surely, fear plays a big role, but as in the case of my Facebook observation, how I can love somebody so deeply from past association but yet differ so poignantly with current ideas on issues/politics, this tells me that maybe I am looking through a wrong lens.
I should start with the premise of equality, even as the founders of the United States etched into our Constitution, that we are all created equally. We must work towards that, and then we will grow in ways that maybe we have not yet seen possible.