United We Stand

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It seems like every time I turn on the TV I am bombarded with news story after news story that shows the uglier side of the human condition. Seemingly every issue that is raised immediately gets polarized and politicized. A line is drawn in the sand and people scramble to pick sides before the dust even settles. Added to this we are in the midst of a bitter presidential election, which has brought the worst out of some.

What I haven’t heard or seen much of these days in news or politics are real messages that aim to unify a population that is becoming more fragmented and divisive. I know they are out there, but they are definitely not on the mainstream news cycle I have been watching. There are many reasons for this but the main one I see is that when people come together they have hope, and when they have hope, they tend to be less fearful, and there is no motivator quite like fear. An entire Republican presidential campaign is being run by exploiting the fears of Americans. Fear of the economy, fear of terrorism, and the list goes on and on. It is the main motivation of many people as they decide who to vote for, where to spend their money, and what side of the line (or aisle) they need to be standing on.

The schisms we are seeing in our society are not going to be solved on a macro level. The word compromise is going the way of those out of date words from Shakespeare. Somewhere along the way compromise turned into weakness. Instead, laws are shoved through in backroom deals. When funding can’t be agreed upon, it’s considered better to shut the government down, and when a Supreme Court spot is left vacant, there’s not even a vote held to fill it.

Like it or not we all call this country home, and while we don’t have to agree with one another, we sure need to figure out a way to play nice with one another.

So while my hope for a call for unity on a macro level dwindles, my belief that real change can occur on a micro level remains strong. What I took away most from the Bernie Sanders campaign was his message that we need to work together to make our country a better place. Regardless of your political ideology, race, class, gender, or sexual orientation, we can in fact find a middle ground and a way to compromise because at the end of the day we are all in this together. His campaign had what a lot of campaigns lack these days: humanity. It was a local, personal, grassroots movement. Whether you agree with his politics or not is irrelevant at this point but the message of collectivity and unity which millions of people rallied behind is one that all of us can carry forward independent of who becomes elected president.

I grew up in New Jersey, lived in New York for a short period of time before spending a few years in New England, finally calling Santa Monica my home. Each of these places couldn’t be more different from each other, culturally, historically, and politically, each facing unique problems from one another. But regardless of where I have lived in this country, I have met genuinely good people from all walks of life. On a micro, person-to-person level I have been the benefactor of the kindness of people, more often than not. So, while the challenges that threaten the unity of this country are very real, I won’t accept that they are insurmountable, as my experience has shown me otherwise. Each one of us can begin to make a difference just by how we treat people in our daily interactions. For me the two worst places for my bad behavior are while driving and surfing, so that means I will try to let someone into my lane instead of cutting them off and be kinder to others in the water. Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.

-Mike

3 thoughts on “United We Stand”

  1. I think you’re missing the point of these days and times. Americans are unified for the most part, as are the Liberals and Progressives. But we’re at war and neither Americans nor the Left are going to collude with the enemy.

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  2. Jonolan, i think you are missing the point. People are angry, we are very divided. You have people that live in fear, which are the clinton supporters, and people that are sick of the norm of DC politics. The trump campaign has shed a light on the growing issue of american politics. The fact that politicians lie about what their going to do. Trump is real. Trump has blown the political system wide open. Hes a voice to show that we the people will not be lied to anymore. Donald trump isnt the solution, hes merely a thought/idea for people to rise up and take control of their lives and country, and to stop living in fear.

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  3. There’s only one difference between Trump and the least educated, least reflective, least respectful, meanest, most fearful, most socially impotent, most emotionally violent citizens of the United States: Trump has access to media exposure. He doesn’t represent the views or understanding of people who live examined lives. His views reflect a self-centered, immature, thoughtless mentality that most of us — thankfully — outgrow.

    Even discounting the rest of his egregious character flaws, it’s difficult to respect the opinions of a liar who accuses everyone else of lying.

    The point is that this country is not experiencing war; it’s suffering from the intransigence of people in Congress behaving like sulking teenagers. Compromise — the understanding that nobody can have it all their own way, but everybody gets something — is the foundation of the creation of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our very Democracy. Without that willingness to give up some of what we want so everyone can have a good life because we accept as a nation that everyone is “created equal”, we are no longer who we were meant to be.

    Mike’s right. Kindness on a personal level may be the best way to begin our nation’s improvement. Bernie would have done that. My heart is with him.

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