The Divide

The Divide

We are in a scary era in America. It is scary because politically, socially, economically things look as if we’re heading for a brick wall at break neck speed. The divide between the races, the sexes, the religions, and the haves and have nots seems to be growing by the day.

Millions of words have been written on WHY things are this way and HOW we can fix them and WHO is to blame but in the end nothing is changing. We are just making more and more word pollution that rarely serve as bridges but serve as more wedges between us. There is no one cause and there is no one fix. After the great progress that was made – far too late – in the ’60s we stopped working together to continue that work and this is where we are.

Things are bad.

It’s hard to see past it.

Worst, to me, is that we’re so involved in ourselves as a nation that when a catastrophic tragedy strikes another place on the planet we are aloof to it because we are caught up in our own strife. The plight and pain of others does not take away our own pain, our own plight, but it should serve to remind us that we are not just failing ourselves, but the world. We need to tend our own garden, absolutely, but we also need to be there for our global neighbors when they are in desperate need.

What bothers me most is that we are losing the ability for civil discourse. The blessing of social media is it allows people from around the world with differing views and interests to interact, to discuss, to share, and in times like this, to provide information from the front lines of what is happening. Social media serves as a bridge that can bring us all together. That bridge is broken.

We don’t want to listen to one another.

We don’t want to hear opposing views.

We want to insulate ourselves with what we deem is the ‘RIGHT’ opinion and view and anyone who questions it or opposes it is a fool or worse.

Heaven forbid if you don’t want to post or speak openly about things – knowing that it’s a bit of Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t – because your silence is seen as ignoring the issues or allowing them to continue. We want everyone to have our level of passion and investment and outrage over everything that we do without looking at the person to see what they are thinking or just asking if we’re so darn curious.

The world is in trouble.

America is in deep trouble.

Our politicians are blinded by greed and hubris. They chase one another around in circles, wrapping themselves in the flag or using the Bible as a shield. They claim they only want the best for everyone as they curtail rights, withhold rights, and push for more corporate cuts and breaks. We used to be a nation that prided itself on its workforce and its work ethic but now we act as if we’re not good enough to have anyone want to open a company here. And it’s true, corporations are doing that, almost threatening to leave or not come at all and I understand the fear of that. I also understand that there’s a point that we have to say to hell with you then and let the market fill that hole with someone willing to invest here.

The middle class is becoming a myth. When the stock crashed a few years back the corporations took their opportunity to cut workforce, lower wages, and to close and consolidate. They had grown weak from over-extension and poor work culture and they punished the workers for their own mismanagement. We are becoming a nation of debtors, where the debts of the parents are passed on like some grim inheritance, a yolk that becomes heavier the more personal debt we accrue. College is a necessity but is outrageously expensive. Schools are becoming memorization factories. We are not investing in our future and our young because it takes money away from other interests.

We are a nation of war mongers where the culture of guns is not just thriving but growing. We cannot find ways to get out of the wars we are in and are in a constant breakpoint for other wars to break out. Part of it truly is to try to keep people safe, but part, a larger part, is to protect overseas interests, which is abominable. Blood is not less valuable than oil.

We should be shamed that as a nation we have relied so heavily on fossil fuels and outmoded ways to power our lives and world. It will take a very long time to leave those things behind but to think that we’re just now beginning to look more seriously at alternatives as the earth is on the brink of catastrophic change is insane.

We have let the old ‘norm’ become a noose which we hang women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community from. We say we want rights for all but only if our children don’t have to see it, or hear about it, and as long as it’s not out in the open or on our televisions. We rage at how so many athletes are people of color and ‘foreigners’ but are thrilled when those same people help ‘our’ team win. We celebrate celebrities and athletes just to tear them down at every chance we get. Seeming to only forgive the ones that entertain us or help ‘us’ win. How many women and children need to suffer for us to start realizing that because you are famous doesn’t give you a Get Out Of Jail Free pass?

How many times do we need to spin things so that it shows other races and peoples in whatever light suits us? When will we learn that we will never conquer all of our differences, will never fully be free of prejudices, and will never fully embrace all peoples but that unless we find ways to work together we’re all literally screwed. We rage at people who are willing to destroy history and lives for their own gain, for their own narrow view of the world, yet we do the same here. We make excuses for violence as if violence is an answer. The only thing that answers violence is more violence. Does that mean that ignoring an issue, or looking the other way make that issue go away? Of course not. But burning the world in effigy has never been the answer unless you just want to make things worse. We need to put our fingers away and TALK. And LISTEN. And HEAR. The media is the media. Sometimes it aids in communication and sometimes it gets in the way but leaning on the ‘it’s the media’s fault’ standby is lazy. Just as it is to say – those people have a right to be angry.

WE ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.

Go ask someone, really ask them what makes them angry most have legitimate reasons for anger, even if they are only legit to themselves. We have seen the American dream crumble beneath our feet. We bought into a lie. There was no grand dream. WE are the dream. A people that have more freedoms than not. A people that can get together to discuss things, and when that doesn’t work to protest things, and to demand answers. Our nation has a great many problems but they won’t be solved by more division. It won’t be solved by telling people they don’t understand anger and frustration and never will. Poverty has no color. Pain has no sexuality. Sorrow has no religion.

We deserve answers.

The questions are out there and we deserve answers.

Our nation is shaking from strife and change. We are on the verge of amazing changes or frightening collapse and we play a part in what happens next. I won’t tell you some nonsense love everyone line. I won’t tell you that I understand the specific anger and rage and sorrow of people of color or of women or of people in the LGBTQ world. I am not so blind as to see that because of my race, and because of my upbringing I was granted things that some people in this country have not seen in generations so I won’t act as if I understand things I never can. But I will say that I am tired of feeling that I have to hide my opinions, my sorrow, my anger, and my frustration for what we’re doing to the country. No race is to blame. No sex. No sexuality. No religion. WE are to blame for the world we live in. Every child raised in anger. Every action that came from violence. Every word that sprung from cruelty. Every time we have worked to divide ourselves we tore at our own skin, at our own future. The past doesn’t go away. The dead don’t come back. Pain isn’t forgotten. But unless we are willing to start finding ways to work together we will never, ever have a chance of changing anything. It is clear the major issues facing us right now and it’s time to start finding ways to fix those things so we can move on to the next thing.

We don’t get to just join hands and sing a song of love.

We don’t get to ignore the horror that so many are facing.

We don’t get to turn away from the fear that so many of us have.

People have earned their sorrow. They have earned their anger. But to act on rage is to think only of a moment in a lifetime that is a quilt of moments, moments we don’t own. We are damning the whole with the actions of the few.

Unless we find it within ourselves to work together on solutions we are just seeing the very beginning of how bad things are going to get and despite what the most ardent and angry will say, no one wants to see how very bad it can get.

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