Giving (Domestic) Peace A Chance

As I awaken on a clear Sunday morning, I am troubled by the decaying state of our Nation. I’ve always been a news hound, having grown up in our Nation’s Capital, always following political news and events to determine where we’ve been headed.

I cannot tell you this morning where we are headed.

What I do understand with perfect clarity is – we are in deep trouble.

For the first time in my life spanning nearly 66 years, I cannot watch the news anymore. For the first time in my memory, I am afraid for the future of the United States. Not just at the government level, but across the masses….the very soul of our Nation.

I am more afraid now than I was the morning of 9/11/01.

That morning, we were unified.

This morning…we are not.

Our great divide is troubling. We’ve lost our sense of grace – the art of treating one another with mutual respect and dignity. We’re an angry society with utter contempt for one another – even when people are nice to us. You see it in the stores and on the road. Meanness like I’ve never seen before.

The United States is in a free fall.

It is up to each of us to arrest the fall.

Reach out to a neighbor. Shake an opposing viewpoint’s hand. Find a grain of knowledge and useful information in a differing opinion. Perhaps the opposing opinion might be right. Maybe they’re more knowledgeable about the subject than you are.

We’re so stuck in Left versus Right that we cannot see our way clear to compromise. I think of soulful words from Bette Midler’s “From A Distance” hit from 1991. I will recite it for you.

“From a distance,

You look like my friend

Even though we are at war.

From a distance,

I just cannot comprehend

What all this fighting’s for…”

What is all this fighting for? Because you don’t agree with someone on the Left or on the Right? Because you don’t agree with a vaxer or anti-vaxer – or a masker versus an anti-masker? Perhaps it is centered on your perception of someone of a different skin color or culture than you are. Religion is always a hot button issue. There always seems to be condemnation of someone who doesn’t share your beliefs instead of learning how to cohabitate peacefully.

Be at peace with a differing viewpoint.

Whatever happened to “variety is the spice of life” or “marching to the beat of a different drummer…” Where is it written we all must act and think the same? America has always been about variety – not oppression or persecution though we haven’t always lived up to either. We’re not marching to this beat as we’re supposed to. Instead – we attack one another and argue to the point of utter exhaustion.

I will say it again. United we stand and Divided we will surely fall. We are in a free fall Gang. If we don’t find a means to getting along and learn how to live with our differences – we die.

Our forefathers didn’t achieve perfection with The Constitution. It was a blueprint. A start… A work in progress. At the time it was written and drafted, women and blacks didn’t have the freedom to vote. So much for “All Men are created equal…” We’ve come a long way since and still have a long way to go. We have to continue to perfect this important piece of paper.

I’d like to see us begin today by paying close attention to what we are doing to each other. Kindness and dignity must be practiced in baby steps one person at a time. I like learning from someone with whom I disagree – gleaning valuable knowledge from a differing opinion. Feels good. We should all try that.

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