The Illusion of Division

We are debating murder. That’s how far out of perspective the American people are in this moment in history. It takes a crisis to find out who we really are, as individuals, and as a collective.

Before we even start to analyze why it is happening, we have to look at where we are at and acknowledge what is happening in this moment. There are multiple crisis at play, our decisions will determine whether we come out of this with growth or with destruction.

At present we seem to be grappling with a moral crisis of epic proportions. We see our neighbors as enemies, we have an insatiable need for tribalism, and amidst societal chaos we are try to rationalize and justify murder of fellow Americans.

If we step back, and get back to basics, we all innately know that murder is morally wrong. Period. A human being killing another human being with intent is wrong. There are no “sides” where the topic of murder is concerned. No one is exempt from the consequences of this action.

We have lost sight of this very basic human principle.

The American people can not place blame on any of the usual suspects. The crisis is not being caused by someone or something outside of us, even if it seems that way. The crisis is coming from inside of us. We are trying not to own our own feelings, values and behaviors. We have become closed off to ourselves, so much so that we don’t see that we are what we hate.

In this state of denial, we don’t recognize our “neighbors” as those who help enrich our community. We see everyone who is different from us as a threat, because we are afraid of loss. We are going back to primitive thinking where the instinct to survive is paramount. The only problem is, no one out there is actually attacking us. Our neighbors are not our enemies. And wanting to kill other people is not ok.

The need to argue is a coping mechanism of sorts. If we are overwhelmed by our circumstances and want to appear strong and unshaken, one way to hide vulnerability is to appear confident, unshakable and offensive. It’s like a gargoyle shield.

Yet, we fail to recognize that we have no need to fear one another. We fail to recognize that those who seem like the enemy actually have the same wants and needs as we do. Americans want a fair democracy, Americans want the right to vote, Americans do not want a police state, Americans do not want a dictator or a king to replace our co-equal branches of government, Americans want a strong economy that sustains and enriches the working class, Americans want affordable healthcare, Americans want peaceful communities.

Make no mistake, it’s not the politicians or the media creating the illusion that because we have different ideals from one another we should see one another as enemies. We can try to blame such forces and give power to our fear of these imagined enemies. And in doing so we are rotting from the inside out as a country. The world over is watching the United States crumble into chaos and confusion. They are watching us kill each other and then argue about which murders are justified. They are watching us burn our own cities to the ground.

There are no “sides” responsible for the destruction – as individuals make their own choices and there are individuals on both perceived sides that lack the moral compass to remain peaceful in times of trouble. There are individuals on both perceived sides that are fearful that something will be taken from them by their fellow Americans. It is individuals who refuse to come together and cooperate to resolve the crisis at hand and prevail as a united people.

We have come together in the past to overcome huge challenges. We have also had a civil war in this country, which resulted in the most bloodshed of Americans on American soil in our history. It is truly a living hell when infighting results in all out killings of our own countrymen. The people responsible for such a hell are the individuals willing to succumb to the irrational fear that they must fight til the death to hold onto the lifestyle they have been comfortable living their entire lives.

The FDR quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” is a timeless statement, and it is a legitimate warning for the times we are in.

Media and politicians may choose to stoke fears to get what they want in terms of an agenda, but it is the American people who fall under the spell. Many of us choose to accept the illusion of division, and we get to a point where seeing each other as enemies leads to the type of moral crisis that is fast becoming the new American way of life.

We must choose not to participate. We, the people, must find our strength and the courage not to fear one another and not to believe the ridiculous illusion that we are so different from one another that we need to fight til the death to survive.

It is possible to come out of this with growth as the result of overcoming the biggest collective challenges of our lifetime.

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