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Posts Tagged ‘America’

boston_handsacrossamerica

Tomorrow is the day. Finally. The longest, most excruciating election season in memory will end as those of us who have yet to vote will head to the polls to have our say. And with Election Day 2016 now upon us, I thought I’d provide some comforting words for those of us who fear the worst for a nation plagued with the type of hateful and divisive attitudes, behavior, and rhetoric so common in modern American politics.

When it’s all said and done and the election has been decided, there will be much frustration and anger on one side, if not both. The harsh words and the argumentative tone of the past year will not suddenly disappear once the news networks dramatically reveal the 45th president of these United States. Acknowledging the fact that there will still be intense feelings of resentment is, I believe, an important step in starting to heal the wounds of such a divisive election season.

It is what we do with these feelings of bitterness and hurt that will determine how well we move on as a country. Recognizing that ideological and political differences are actually an important and necessary hallmark of a successful democracy, I hope that we try to understand and actively address the complicated beliefs and opinions of those with whom me may disagree.

It is always easy to get along with those who share our views. It is how we engage and interact with those of differing views that matters most. Getting to know and fully grasp the ideals and values of others is a significant step in moving forward.

With that said, while I do believe it’s important to show tolerance and appreciation for the views of others, I don’t think we should tolerate implicit or blatant words and acts of hatred. In fact, quite the opposite.

I consider it our civic and moral duty to push for what is right, to counter the type of ignorant and destructive behavior we have witnessed in recent months. When intolerance and disdain for other beliefs, cultures, and races are present, we must speak out against them. It has been proven time and time again that history is on the side of those who have the courage to do so.

These are troubling times, no doubt. Tension is everywhere. Everything we do and say currently feels highly flammable. But I strongly believe that America has what it takes to overcome the suffocatingly negative climate of this year’s election. God knows we have encountered worse. Much worse.

I take comfort in knowing that even an election this intensely divisive, this wrought with fear and loathing, cannot completely destroy the bonds which have united us for centuries.

 

 

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mixed-race

I’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to figure out why America feels like it’s on the verge of a complete breakdown. Among other things, there is a never-ending stream of violent acts, a ton of angry and hateful rhetoric, and a strong undercurrent of racism. All this negativity often feels suffocating, as if we are drowning in a wave of our worst impulses. So why are these things happening?

I used to think that racism, disdain for the “other,” and disregard for each other’s lives were causes of the type of societal turmoil we’re currently seeing in America. Recently, though, I’ve realized that those things are effects, not causes. They are the effects of fear. It is the fear of those who are different, a paranoia caused by unknown races, faces, cultures, and lifestyles, that is leading to the words and actions that threaten to tear us apart.

There are two ways in which we can respond to those who are different from us. We can welcome them with the knowledge that part of what makes humanity so amazing is the fact that we are all extremely different. Even those of us who share a skin color, or a language, or a religion, are different from each other in countless ways.

It is this appreciation for the unique ways in which we’ve been created that leads to peace, love, and the betterment of society as a whole. God knows we can use each of those right about now.

In contrast, when we react to each other’s differences with fear, trepidation, and condescension, we create an atmosphere that allows for the type of mistrust, violence, and hate that is all too rampant in America at the moment.

These problems won’t be solved by our government. They won’t be solved by continued separation of people by race, religion, and world-view. They will only be solved when we, a wonderfully diverse and beautifully complicated people, learn to not fear others, but instead, to find the good and the great in those who are not like us.

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