Closing the Divide

About sixty years ago, my great-grandfather, G. M. Williams, ran a campaign for governor with the revolutionary idea of supporting people of all origins, replacing subjectivity with objectivity in a political environment previously unfamiliar with the concept. Throughout my childhood, I was lucky enough to move all around the United States and become exposed to several different cultures. From family roots in Michigan, being born in Kentucky, growing up in West Virginia, Maryland, and Florida, and attending college in Pennsylvania, I have come to appreciate the diversity that I was fortunately exposed to at a young age. I have friends from a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, which is why I am so disheartened by some of the things I see in the news today.

We as a country have become so engulfed in hatred and fear of one another that many people believe the only answer is to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world—build the wall, limit immigration, back out of NATO, etc. This seclusionist mentality, combined with the deep hatred and divide between political parties, is holding our country back from truly flourishing. Nowadays, you can’t even mention your party affiliation without members of the opposing party immediately writing you off as inferior to them. We have lost our way.

We sit here while Republicans and Democrats bicker about golfing, fake news, Obamacare, police brutality, black-on-black crime… what is this nonsense? We can’t even agree on simple, seemingly indisputable things, such as a barring mentally ill people from legally purchasing firearms. The one thing some have come to agree on regardless of party affiliation was the hypocrisy of Trump’s decision to attack Syria because of Assad’s chemical weapons, as a United States-led coalition of airstrikes bombed 200 civilians a few weeks ago and no one even blinked an eye. We sit at home and let our politicians do nothing but impede our progress toward becoming the best country in the world.

My great-grandfather realized this 60 years ago. He knew that no matter one’s race, ethnicity, religion, or nationality, they should be able to dream of bettering their life because this is what makes America great. Our nation was built on the premise of freedom, liberty, and the ability to do as you please so long as it does not hurt your fellow American. We have become engulfed in the notion that changes or differences between people will prove problematic. But from my personal experience seeing rich and diverse cultures coming together in harmony and to the benefit one another there are nothing but positive lessons to be learned from helping the rest of the world. We should not turn a blind eye to people because they were not fortunate enough to hit the “jackpot” of being born in the U.S. In the words of Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These famous words were inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, a landmark gifted to us from France, a country that helped us in our fight to determine how we wanted to live our lives. To think we do the opposite today through subjective discrimination is incorrigible. We as a nation need to put our personal differences aside and stop leaving this world to decay as we stand idle.