Insomnia is just a cruel, cruel force isn't it? I woke up this morning- 4:45 am after a restless night's sleep. The weight of the world it seemed, was circling around and wouldn't let me forget it. Sometimes my worries for my students keep me awake, sometimes it's my concerns for my family. This morning it was all about my country.
I love my country. I love America. We are such an interesting lot! Fifty states, all bound together to form a 'perfect union.' I love that. We all have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Right now, we aren't so happy as a nation.Turn on the news and it is all doom and gloom. Turn on social media sites and it is all complaining and name calling. People are pointing fingers at different groups, individuals and trying to blame everyone else for everything wrong with the world. The anger is just rolling off of us in waves.
I'm 46. I've voted since I was 18, and have never missed an election. I can't remember any election I've voted in actually loosing a friend over my choice of candidate. This year seems like a whole different world.
My aunt isn't talking to me, and to be honest, I'm alright with that. She went after my daughter publicly on Facebook calling her names and saying she had no class for her political choice. I had a friend tell me that my 'liberal idiotic posts' made her want to throw up, and I shouldn't start things I can't finish (whatever that meant) and she unfriended me.I see fights break out daily over big and small things on social media, and in real life that just make me sad. A woman I've known and called my friend for a long time as our daughters grew up together seemed to have started a firestorm by saying who she was going to vote for. A private message from her revealed that her 'Christian friends were letting her have it' because of her choice. Is that okay? How is that the spirit of America? I've seen this mentality take over people that if you have different political views, you are immediately seen as an enemy. What? Really?
Whatever happened to the America I know? I grew up in an America where if someone needed help, you helped them. If someone was down on their luck, you did all you could to help get them back on their feet. From the smallest acts of kindness to grand gestures, Americans were there to help. If my neighbor needed some sugar to finish a recipe, you gave what you had. If a coworker's car was in the shop, you easily could offer a ride to work. After 9-11, I saw an America that made me proud. There were flags everywhere. People understood who their neighbor was, and they trusted that in a time of such a horrific event, that we could count on each other.
I do see signs of hope here and there. For example, we see articles all the time in sports where a player gets hurt, and the opposing team ends up helping them. Last Saturday was 'Empty the Shelters' day, where people all across the country tried to adopt rescued animals that needed loving homes. So many shelters across the country adopted every single pet. I see pictures of teens helping old ladies across the street. There was that moving story about a whole town learning sign language so they could include their deaf resident with them at all times. We have a few Viners here that post 'feel good stories' on Wednesdays. That's the America I grew up in.
I believe that deep down inside, we are all good people. At the end of the day, we want our friends and family to be happy. We want the same thing everyone in the world wants, to be loved and to love in return. However, when it comes to politics, we forget all our manners. All of a sudden, we become the very opposite of who we are deep down inside.
Have we really started to let politics ruin friendships or political parties before our country? The whole 'He/She started it!' argument really won't work with me at this point. I don't care who started it. I care to finish it. It is truly no one's fault but our own. My challenge I guess to everyone is to breathe. Look at your neighbor and smile. Find the good today. Don't let your anger control you. Find that common ground. As Americans, what unites us is far greater than what divides us. I firmly believe that.