On Divisiveness in America

It’s not working. And we’re all responsible for it.

We have a few things to remind ourselves.

We have a few things to remind ourselves.

I am sure my fellow Americans notice that the discourse among us has become increasingly + increasingly polarized. Do we also notice how it almost always contains eye-rolling towards the “other side” — that there is a condescension and moral superiority regularly bubbling near the surface? I am not only talking about Washington. I am also talking about us citizens. I include myself, very much so.

Do we see how terribly unhealthy this is? Let’s remind each other that perhaps with a bit more empathy, we can actually create channels of dialog, respect — actual communication. Understanding can happen.

The “other side” isn’t the villain. This blame is not who we are. We aren’t getting anywhere by each furthering this divisiveness in our own ways.
This has gotten to be really ugly, my friends. Really ugly. And there is a difference between negativity and naming something unpleasant that is simply an objective dynamic which exists.

I encourage us to recognize people have good reason for holding the views they have. Life has brought circumstances which created those views. I do believe some views are less wise than others as some attitudes take us closer to where we want to go, and others distance us from that. But we can’t discover wisdom by false conviction and self-righteousness.

Life is much vaster than those who agree with us of course. How do we relate to that? Surely we can do better than however we characterize our current reality. Shoulder-shrugging remains an option, though one I choose not to choose.

What happens when we cultivate our higher qualities in moments of greatest tension? And nobody said this should happen overnight. It’s a practice. It’s indeed cultivation. This thing looks ugly right now, I say again. It calls on the courage of all of us to create culture change. It starts with how we relate to each other as human beings, not just a person who agrees with me or disagrees with me — a bundle of beliefs. Fundamental tolerance is taking several critical body blows.

I have as much to learn as anybody about this. I am not above this at all. What I can say is that I have spent plenty of time outside the United States and I consider myself to have a fair amount of perspective. I have spent time with very wise and loving leaders, and very wonderful communities. I have references outside what we call normal and know it doesn’t have to be that way. And that tools exist for each of us to take responsibility for our own shadows in healing, loving ways. And I am still an American who cares and has a hunch patriotism is something we still have a lot to learn about.

We have become very separate from each other. I think we’re all tired of this hate and fear and greed. I pray for our growth in fundamental human values.