Joe Biden, who will take the Oath of Office in just 67 days, has promised to try to unify the people of this country … unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office who has done nothing but divide us. I applaud that effort, and until yesterday I naively thought it might just be possible. I still hope that it can be done … certainly if anybody can, Biden is among the best candidates to do so. But today I have my doubts. I don’t want to be negative or a naysayer, for we all need all the hope we can find, but I am nothing if not a pragmatist, a realist. Yesterday as I perused the news, considered what was happening, it occurred to me that a large number – about half – of the people in this nation do not want unity, but rather thrive on division and chaos.
Certainly, there have always been political divisions in this country and always will be, for we are a nation of humans, but what we are experiencing now goes beyond ideological differences and into the arena of personal hatred. This “Reign of Cruelty” as I term the past four years, has changed us, has made us more willing to accept things that we once abhorred. It has made us less human.
I hate that it has boiled down to Republican vs Democrat and the language of hate, the finger-pointing, the blame game is always … always the fault of everyone who identifies with one party or another. I, too, have been guilty of saying, “The republicans only want …” or “The republicans are the cause of …”, and it’s not something I’m proud of, but admittedly it will likely happen again, for I am human.
Today, thousands of people are gathered in Washington to … what? I’m not sure what they hope to accomplish, but they are protesting the results of the election, results that clearly prove Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. They are parroting Trump’s false claim that the election has been ‘stolen’, that there was massive voter fraud, even though this has been disproven. They’ve brought their guns, they’ve brought their Proud Boys, their maga hats, their Trump banners, and while so far nobody has been killed, I won’t be surprised if there is violence and death before the day is done.
I am neither a democrat nor a republican, but for the past twenty years or so, I have found nothing particularly valuable in the republican platform, while I do support the same sorts of things the Democratic Party supports, things like providing affordable health care for everyone, women’s rights, equal rights for the LGBT community, equal opportunities for people of all colours and religions in such areas as housing and employment. I support raising the minimum wage, workplace safety, and perhaps most importantly, taking care of the planet that we have long neglected.
The pandemic perfectly highlights the differences between the two ‘sides’ in this nation. We cannot even agree to protect each other from a deadly virus, cannot agree on something so simple as wearing a mask in public, else staying home. If we cannot agree on even that, how can we possibly come to terms on such things as environmental regulations, universal health care, and ending systemic racism?
This nation was founded on freedom of religion, which also means freedom from religion, and yet today a growing portion of the population believes that their religious beliefs ought to be the basis of the laws that we must all live under, even those of us who do not share their beliefs. This only further divides us … wars have been fought over this very thing, but we fail to learn the lessons of history.
The effort to unify will require compromise, and I just don’t see a willingness among the people of this nation to budge so much as an inch, let alone meet the other side at the halfway mark. What will it take to bring the people of this nation together, united in a common goal? Will it take bombs being dropped on us by an outside entity? Will it take the deaths of half the people in the nation before we open our eyes and realize that we cannot keep killing each other?
Can we possibly set aside our vitriol and hate for a moment and think about the things we have in common? Or do we still have anything in common? I think we do … we all love our families and want the best for them, we just don’t agree on what is the best or how to achieve it. We all have certain basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and breathable air … we just don’t agree on how to achieve those things. We all want our children to have a good education … we just don’t agree on what, exactly, that is. So yes, we have much in common, but we view it from different perspectives. All of which would be fine, if we respected each other, respected others’ viewpoints and agreed to compromise. Instead, we try to shove our views down the throats of others.
If you’re waiting for me to tell you how we can fix this … don’t hold your breath, for I have no idea. I only hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are far wiser than I and can make decisions and policies that will help narrow what I refer to as the Great Divide.