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. And what I feel is worse is, that this isn’t something new. So the question I’m asking and I’m sure others are as well is, “are we all that united?”
We’ve been talking about one divide or another in the U.S. for a long time. Economic and racial 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 isn’t being heard. Or at very least, feeling as though they’re not being heard when it comes to what’s important to them. This is not a recipe for feeling united, for sure.
That’s a lot of people. And if people aren’t feeling heard, united, they will find ways of making themselves heard to feel unity. This country was based on this premise. No taxation without representation. So we revolted. There are more positive ways to feel heard. Such as peaceful protesting or volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about. But there are also 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” movement. 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 through this before. Then it struck me. I realized that it reminds me of the ways my own family is divided. All of us in our own, small, fractured factions. Feeling hurt and unheard. We’re all alone, not knowing how to connect or if it’s even safe to reach out. This leaves me, and us, with the questions, what do we do now? How do we reconnect? Do we start from scratch? And build new relationships after having been so badly damaged from past abuses?
I know I’m not alone in this experience. Many people I’ve talked to have had similarly difficult familial relationships. And with a 50% divorce rate in our nation, 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.
Power and Its Effects
For example, abuse of authority may look similar from parent to child as it does from political authority to constituent. 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 unease 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 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 either. 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. There’s an old saying that goes, “if you want to go fast, travel alone. If you want to go far, travel together”. Let’s see how far we can go. Thanks for reading, peace :]
If you’re interested in reading about healthy connection and feeling united, check these articles out:
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