We in this nation, around the globe in fact, are so divided that families have crumbled, friendships dissolved like a candy in hot water, marriages and even parent-child relationships gone in a blink of any eye. Is this really who we are, or are we being led toward one side or another by those whose self-interest far outweighs their concern for us.
While yes, I know there are ideological differences between people based on their ‘order of values’, but beyond those relatively minor details, it seems that it should all be so simple. For example … I cannot imagine a single human on this planet who wouldn’t grieve for the 19 children murdered in Texas last month, who wouldn’t do anything in their power to stop such a thing from ever occurring again. And yet … we are so divided on who can own what types of guns and how many. Seems pretty simple if you had a child, grandchild, niece or nephew at Robb Elementary School. What is there to argue about? And why? And how many more must die before we lay down our own arms and join hands to preserve the lives of our future?
Or consider the issue of women’s rights as personified by the abortion rights issue. Now, granted about half of the people in this nation are males and therefore might not have as complete an understanding, but here’s the thing, people. If Roe v Wade remains the law of the land and we women retain our rights to determine what happens with our own body, when or if we ever have a baby, and more, that does not force anybody who doesn’t believe in abortion to have one! It would be rather like banning lemon cookies because half the nation doesn’t like the taste of them, when nobody is forcing anybody to eat a damn lemon cookie! Why must we be so divided on this issue … why can we not agree to just live and let live. If you don’t choose to have an abortion, then fine … don’t have one. Have a baby and I hope you are in a position to take the best possible care of that baby. But remember that not everyone is.
What about the LGBTQ community? I have many friends who are LGBTQ and they are, without exception, great people. What’s the big deal? Again, why can’t we live and let live? Who I choose to love, to spend the rest of my life with, is frankly nobody else’s business, just as who you choose to love is not my business. Why is that a divisive issue in this country and so many others? Are we really so small-minded, so closed-minded that we cannot accept that not everybody looks, acts, and thinks just as we do?
I think two things have propelled us into the divisions that are destroying not only this nation, but much of the world today: religion and political greed.
On the topic of religion, I understand that some religions do not believe in such things as inter-racial marriage, same-sex marriage, abortion, and more. And so, here in the U.S. of late, we seek to condemn those things, in some cases to make them against the law. WHY? Other religions don’t believe in eating pork or drinking alcohol, yet I haven’t heard of any motions to make pig meat or alcohol illegal, have you? If you identify with a certain sect or religion, then fine, but … why can’t you accept that not everybody shares your beliefs? What about that term “freedom of religion” which is one of the founding principles of this nation, one of the reasons the nation came to exist. Why must we always be trying to mold people into clones of ourselves? Because church leaders tell us to do so, they tell us that there is only one right way and everybody else is wrong! Not so, my friends. The world is made more interesting for the variety of thoughts, cultures, beliefs … and no one religion can or should ever dominate the others. Go to your church, worship as you wish, but don’t come and try to push your ideas on the rest of us.
And as far as political greed, well … do I even need to say more? It’s real simple … politicians come in two brands – those who want to change the world for the better and those who want to change their own world for the better. The politicians who are so heavily invested in their own fortunes that they have forgotten the rest of us are dividing us with intent … the intent to solidify a base of people whose minds they can control. They tell their base what they should want, what they deserve, and how to get it, and like lambs led to the slaughter, the people largely buy into it. They tell them that ‘the other side’ is evil, and they believe it. So, if a person’s son or friend happens to be on that ‘other side’, say a different religion, different beliefs on topics like education, guns, voting, or a host of other issues, they will push those people out of their lives … sometimes forever.
What divides us is not a question that has a simple answer, for there are many things that divide us, and religious leaders and politicians play on those issues every single day to widen the gap of division. So, the question becomes, how do we fix this problem, for if we fail to do so, we will be hastening our own demise. We all share this planet and its resources, but we are destroying each other as well as the planet. How do we learn to talk to each other again instead of fighting, name-calling, and using physical violence to make our points? Or can we? Are humanity, compassion, and caring lost causes?
Let’s try to start by remembering the world ‘tolerance’, but accepting that we are all different in so many ways, and reminding ourselves that it’s okay to be different. It’s okay for me to have an abortion and for you not to. It’s okay for you to eat pork and me to shun it. It’s okay for you to own a gun, as long as you are a responsible person, pass the background checks, and keep your gun out of the hands of children, and it’s equally okay for me to declare my home a ‘gun-free zone’. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we’re going to have to find some areas in which we can at least open non-hostile discussion! And on that note, I will hush … for now.