Americans: What Unites Us.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Everywhere you turn today you hear, “We are more at odds with our fellow citizens than ever before.” I don’t know if that’s entirely true, because there have been times in the past where Americans have gone into armed conflict with each other over their differing views. However, it’s definitely true that our country now has many groups that look at those outside their group as evil, crazy, power-hungry, etc. (fill in whatever other nasty adjective you can think of).
What I realized a little while ago is that while many of us belong to one or another of these groups, the groups are almost invariably organized around only one or two concepts. It’s difference on those few concepts that we use to paint all others as “them” rather than “us.” But if we looked at all the things we each believe to be true, I’m sure we’d find that in large part we agree with each other more than we disagree. I think it’s important for our country, our families, and ourselves to try to find these areas of agreement with others and to make it plain (both to them and to ourselves) that while we disagree on some things, the larger group of things that we agree on makes us all one people, the American people. If we can do this, we can work on our disagreements more calmly and peacefully, and resolve them to the agreement and benefit of everyone.
In future pieces I’ll explore the things I personally believe in, and how I think they apply to everyone. You may not agree with all of them, but I’ll be very surprised if you don’t agree with many or most of them.
To end this first piece, I’d like to issue both an invitation and a challenge to everyone. If, in your daily life, you meet someone who you believe to be one of “them,” someone outside a group you consider yourself to be a member of, rather than turning away in distaste or saying something less than complimentary, try smiling at that person and introducing yourself. Shake his or her hand, find something that you have in common to talk about. That will probably be easy, since you will have met this person somewhere (in the grocery store, at work, waiting in line for a movie, etc.). Get to know that person as a person, not as one of “them.” Once you’ve done this, and also become a person to him or her, you can gradually start to talk calmly about your differences.
You’ll find that there are many things you already agree on: your hopes for the future, your worries about your kids, your occasional frustrations in daily life. It’s only by becoming people to each other that we can bridge our differences and see ourselves as the united American people we really are.
Staff Writer; Douglas Loss