America, divided. Permanently?

Photo: Anthony Moretti 18July2016

I remember the America that rallied around nation, flag, president and people in the days that followed the awful events of Sept. 11, 2001. We didn’t surrender our rights as an individual as we raced to the collective.

We mourned. We prayed. We cried. We remembered. We were the UNITED people of the United States of America.

I remember the America that ran to its camps after our troops went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan months later. We splintered, and we never embraced the collective spirit. “I” was right; “you” were wrong.

Because “I” supported the war, the president and the troops, “I” was more American than “you.” On the other hand, “I” refused to give up my right to free speech and protest, while “you” were a mere stooge eager to again spill American blood for the sake of oil.

We yelled. We pointed fingers. We spit. We roared. We were NOT the united people of the United States of America.

I remember the America that rallied around each other once the coronavirus pandemic struck in March 2020. We evaluated how to keep ourselves safe. We, however disgruntled we might have been, stayed at home. We saw the temporary often as inconvenient but necessary for the collective good.

We listened. We showed (at least some) patience. We hoped for a better tomorrow. We were a sort of united people of the United States of America.

I now see a bitterly divided America. Either the “idiots” are those people who want to open schools and see sports played, or they are the people who advocate for a continued patient approach until a vaccine arrives.

We are again yelling. We are again pointing fingers. We are again in our camps. We are again NOT the united people of the United States of America.

Please understand, I’m not asking for an America in which we always hold hands, walk with bright and happy smiles down the street, and sing happy songs. And my “collective” idea doesn’t embrace socialism or communism. But I am asking for an America in which we talk to each other, listen to people who dare to disagree with “my” opinion, value grace and humility, and remain, dare I say it, mature.

Or perhaps we are permanently divided and really would be better off in some form of different union.

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