Divisiveness in the USA

I had planned to blog today about 10 things I learned while researching my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but it seemed petty for me to write about my book on this day after several instances of senseless murder in our country this week.

On the heels of white police officers killing black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, last night during a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas, one or more snipers took that opportunity to murder five police officers and injure seven other officers.

The man in Louisiana was killed by the police while he was pinned down on the ground. The man in Minnesota was killed as he reached for his wallet after being ordered by the police officer to produce his identification. In each case, the victim was black and the police officers were white. These are two in a growing number of such incidents that have led many people to believe there is a pattern of racial profiling taking place within our law enforcement agencies.

In America, we pride ourselves as being “a melting pot,” but various issues are dividing us. Race. Ethnicity. Politics. Religion. Gender. Interpretation of the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. Class. The Haves and the Have-Nots. Equal pay and equal opportunities for men and women in the work place. The list could go on.

It all boils down to fear.

Too many of our citizens fear anyone who doesn’t look like they do. Too many of our citizens fear people who choose not to worship like they do. Too many of our citizens fear people who are more liberal or more conservative in their political views than they are. Too many of our citizens fear people whose sexual orientation does not fit the norm. Too many of our citizens believe that those of us who believe the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee one’s right to own assault weapons want to take away their constitutional right “to bear arms.” When did we become a fearful people?

Too many of our citizens hate people who identify with a different political party. Part of the beauty of our system of political parties is that we have been able to differ in our views on issues but we agreed to agreeably disagree. That’s the way it was until just a few years ago. We now have political campaigns from the local to the national level in which it is acceptable to attack our opponents and their families in ways that degrade us all.

Somewhere along the way we lost our tolerance. Somewhere along the way it became acceptable to hate the people with whom we have a difference of opinion. Somewhere along the way human life lost its value. Somewhere along the way it became acceptable to shoot and kill anyone with whom one differs.

It is time – no, it is past time – for reconciliation in our country. It is time for us to celebrate our differences and respect one another. It is time for us to recognize that we have more in common than we don’t have in common. It is time for healing. It is time for honest dialogue. It is time for us to get to know one another so we can stop being afraid of each other.

Enough is enough! That’s not who we are! We are better than that!

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