Ok, I have a question for you: Do you identify with either of the following symbols?
Furthermore, do either of these symbols elicit a negative reaction from you?
Now consider the following symbol:
Does it make you smile? Does it cause you to feel pride? Mostly, does it make you forget about the previous two symbols?
I hope it does…it should, if you’re an American. I know it does for me.
“But what is your point!??…” I hear you cry.
Just this: Lately, there are entirely too many American citizens defining themselves and pre-judging others based on a political affiliation. They allow it to divide them from their countrymen rather than using the flag and our national identity to unite us and help us grow stronger. I hear it and see it almost daily. It weakens us, and it undermines 200+ years of men and women fighting to make us indivisible.
Let me tell you a quick story. In 2001, I was working for a small town police department. I was working on September 11, 2001. No doubt, it was a hard, tragic and horrible day for every American citizen. But this is my point.
September 12, 2001 was one of the most beautiful days I have seen in this country, and it rates as one of my proudest days as an American. I will never forget it.
Yes, you read that right. Why, you might ask?
Because I have never seen, heard and sensed so much unity and national pride as I did that day, and maybe even the weeks to follow. Every single person that I came into contact with with laser focused and devoutly and fervently loyal to our American identity and national pride. We had experienced the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history. As a result, the country pulled together, and strangers helped strangers, people comforted one another, and everyone gave each other an ear to listen, a friendly smile, and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. It was amazing. Consequently, I have never seen so many flags flying in my life. I probably never will again. But do you know what you didn’t hear or see in all that?
That’s right. You didn’t so much as hear a word about politics or political affiliation. Because it didn’t matter. We were all Americans, and that’s all we needed in common to support, love and help each other.
We desperately need that feeling back.
We need to start caring more for others. We need to see the person, not their politics. We need to try harder to see things from other people’s point of view, and not let our predetermined thoughts and feelings blind us to seeing that we’re not so different from one another. An opinion is just that: An opinion. We need to see the humanity in others and truly understand that a political affiliation is unimportant and trivial.
If you identify yourself or others by who they voted for in the last election or what bumper sticker they choose to display, you are part of the problem.
But the good news is that we can get it back. We can return to September 12, 2001. We can feel united, and patriotic and work toward living out the words of out beautiful pledge:
“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
If we want to continue to work towards ensuring liberty and justice for all, we need to work harder on the “indivisible” part.
I believe we can get it back. I have hope.