I’m from the United States, so for the past few months the only thing that anybody’s been talking about is the election. And I have to admit, I’m breathing a bit easier now that Biden has officially won. But the degree by which this election was called, the contrasting starkness of how this country is divided, is more than a little concerning. This isn’t something new.
We’ve been talking about one divide or another in the U.S. for a long time. Economic, racial, socio-economic, to name a few, but in a system that has two parties that represent two very different halves of the whole, it stands to reason that one half of the country is not being heard, or at least feeling like they’re not being heard, at any given time.
That’s a lot of people. And if people aren’t being heard, they find ways of making themselves heard. There are more acceptable ways, such as peaceful protesting or volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about. But there are other, more tragic ways of being heard. The popular trend of school shootings comes to mind. Something that seemed unimaginable in the not so distant past is now unsettlingly familiar.
Or the “proud boys”, a recent neo-fascist organization that is known for political violence. These are truly unsettling trends, but something about this divide feels all too familiar. Like I’ve lived this before. Then I realized that it reminds me of the ways my own family is divided. All of us in our own, small, ununified factions, feeling hurt and unheard. We’re all alone, not knowing how to connect or if it’s even safe to. Then we’re left with the question, what do we do then? How do we reconnect, or start from scratch and build relationships after having been so badly damaged from past abuses?
I know I’m not alone in this experience. Many people I’ve talked with have had difficult familial relationships and with the national average of almost a 50% divorce rate, it isn’t difficult to see that we are literally a nation divided. It’s also clear that what happens in the smaller units of our families, are the building blocks of what happens in the larger whole of the society that these families compose.
For example, abuse of authority may look similar from parent to child as it does from political authority to voter. Both authorities have the power to take rights away from those who are in their charge. So the settings are similar in some regards. And it’s in those settings of overlap that I want to search for similarities in hopes of finding how we relate to one another. How we may be able to help to heal some of the dis-ease of those who are feeling as though they aren’t being heard. Because regardless of how those who feel unheard react, they are still people. With just as many feelings, hopes, needs and rights as everybody else.
And who’s job is it to listen to those, the members of our society, if it isn’t our own as members of that same society. It is in this vein that I want to explore these areas here on the blog. I don’t have a set list of issues, or even know when I’ll be posting them, or where to even begin, but one thing is for certain, we can’t keep pretending that everybody is being accounted for when there is such a stark divide among us.
This mentality breeds an, I’m right and you’re wrong, way of thinking. In short, those who think they’re right, stop listening to those who they see as wrong. Depending on who holds the power, that could make for dangerous circumstances. And we need to learn to listen to one another again. To be sure, there are probably some puns to be made or parallels to be drawn about how political labeling is in line with the ethos of this blog. And there will be time for that, but right now there is work to be done. We’ve been a house divided for far too long. It’s time to make the journey back home, to one another.
It’s not something that will likely be easy. But few things that are worth the time usually are. But do not lose hope. We’ve seen difficult times before, we can travers them again, together. Thanks for reading, peace :]
Image Credits:“No Known Restrictions: Picketing the White House When Coolidge Refuses to Listen (LOC)” by pingnews.com is marked with CC PDM 1.0