Have you stopped to wonder just what the f— happened to our country? How did things get this out of whack? When did we get here? Why did we loose our sense of a republic, our pride of being the world’s beacon for democracy? When did we start believing that our neighbors who disagree with us are not American? What caused us to think that it is ok for a state to secede from the union? When did we start designating Christians as the only true Americans? Why did we start believing that immigrants are rapists, murderers and terrorists? What are the reasons behind allowing our elected representatives to openly work against our president and our government with no repercussions for their actions? How did it become acceptable for a foreign power to interfere with the way we select our leaders? I could go on and on, but I know you are asking yourselves similar questions.
We used to be so sure of what the USA stood for, now everything is unclear and topsy-turvy. Furthermore, we are being led to believe that we live in a divided red and blue country where the media is the enemy of the people and where the people in power should only be those who agree with our point of view.
These days it is inevitable to listen to the news and not find it to be just a compilation of one damned thing after another. Our politicians keep fostering a growing attitude that everything is sad, fearful, threatening and chaotic. Most people I talk to think that we are heading towards the apocalypse like an out of control locomotive. Even the episodes from the television series, The Walking Dead, seem to hold more promise than our country’s future.
It has become difficult to know where to turn, for you can’t even tell anymore what is true and what is an “alternative fact.” Doesn’t it feel sometimes that we all woke up to find that we have become extras on the movie set of “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming”
How we got here, I believe, lies hidden in the way we have slowly allowed the politicians who gain power and popularity by playing on our fears and a media that sensationalizes the unusual and corrupt in order to increase viewers and readers, to define the vision of our country for us. It is high time that we take control of this vision back.
I think I speak for many who believe that the large majority of Americans can find a way to agree on most things. We are not a red and blue country at all, we are more a like a pizza (I am sure part of it is gluten free). Sure, there may be more visible red tomato sauce in some parts and some others may be more crusty and charred or have more pepperoni, but it is the combination of all the ingredients that give it such a great taste.
In the past, when the chips have been down, we have always rallied around one another. Whether it was to fight in World War II or to unite as a nation after 9/11, Americans have always put our differences aside and we come together.
We are still a melting pot, a characteristic about our country that has not changed. As it has happened from the time of our founders, immigrants come into the United States daily and assimilate into our culture while adding valuable pieces of their own. It is much like adding new ingredients to a wonderful stew. Together we make everything work better. Regardless of the slogans, this country is and can continue to be great. We are not who they say we are.
In order to reclaim our vision, we must first reassert our belief in the American dream. This concept is not vague at all. Just do a little research into our history and you will find a wonderful consistency in its definition. Here are a few quotes.
“The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.”
“James Truslow Adams in 1931 defined the American Dream as, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.”
“The American Dream is the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.”
“The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims, “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
And from the song lyrics of Only in America, by Jay and the Americans,
Only in America…Can a guy from anywhere…Go to sleep a pauper and wake up a millionaire
Only in America…Can a kid without a cent…Get a break and maybe grow up to be President
Only in America…Can a kid who’s washin’ cars…Take a giant step and reach right up and touch the stars
The operative words here are that the American Dream is “for everyone”. Not just for Christians, not just males, not just Republicans, not just Democrats, not just the rich, for everyone!
We have made great strides in embracing our diversity. Most of us recognize the value of every person around us regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing, academic/professional backgrounds, geographic setting, etc. Yet, where we seem to be falling down these days is in our intolerance for people with different opinions than ours.
I am positive that I was not born with a fountain of all knowing wisdom inside of me. I am also quite sure that you weren’t either. It is time that we accept that there is as much legitimate value in the other point of view as there is in ours. If we hold on to this attitude, there is opportunity to find the common ground. Remember, we learn more from listening than we do from talking.
Don’t misunderstand my message. I am not advocating that everything is negotiable. We should always be on the lookout for injustice and make a stand against it. By all means pay attention and protest when you are called to do so, but remember, you cannot fight injustice by mimicking injustice. Fight for a cause, but don’t demonize people simply because they disagree.
So how do we change things? Well, it is certain that we cannot wait for the politicians to unite us. This means it is up to us as individuals to make that happen. I propose that we begin a revolution of unity. A grassroots revolution that starts coming together one person at a time. We can do this begining within your own social circle. Start by trying to unite with your own family members. Next move to your fiends, then your neighbors. Find the common ground, it is there. But you have to stop shouting at each other and listen. Last but not least, stop voting for those who don’t advocate for the unity of all.
Think of the people walking down the street as your brother or sister and treat them with love and a desire for their wellbeing. If you don’t like your siblings, then think of them as someone you treasure in your life. If there is no one like that, think of them as yourself. If you don’t even like yourself, then I suggest you get some therapy. But whatever you do, don’t hate for it serves no purpose other than to destroy the beauty and truth of our existence.
Remember, your neighbors are not red or blue; they are the colors of flesh and blood. They were created by the same source that created you. There is good reason to reach out to them.
It is the hour to take action, do something to unite our country even if it is one person at a time. If you agree with me, share this blog with friends and family. Start weaving our fabric of unity. Let’s claim our country back. Are you with me?
God Bless America!
Also published on Medium.