This is everyone’s biggest fear in the so-called war on terror. It doesn’t matter if you’re liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, American or Middle Eastern, Christian, Jew or Muslim. We’re obviously all in this together.
I find it disconcerting that the United States, often viewed as a beacon of hope and now the sole superpower in a troubled world, seems to be more divided than any time since the Civil War – an observation former President Jimmy Carter made with which I happen to agree.
We’ve been partitioned into red and blue states thanks to Electoral College maps drawn from consecutive presidential elections that were dead-heat contests. A once collegial Congress has nearly buried bipartisanship deep inside the Washington,D.C., Beltway. And look at what’s been happening in the heartland with all this incendiary cultural warfare: The Dixie Chicks rail against the president, lamenting his Lone Star connection, while Toby Keith waves the flag, cloaked in patriotism.
What’s going on here?
Emotionalism seems to trump rational thought. Manners are completely out the window. Cynicism has become a way of life. Critics on both sides of the political aisle are generally short on solutions but long on bitching about the issues of the day. Which, of course, makesAmericasuch a great – albeit imperfect – nation in the first place that we can pretty much say whatever we’d like without being too paranoid about the consequences – unless we’re somehow carted off to jail courtesy of the Patriot Act.
I’m not sure how we can possibly broker a peace with people who abhor the modern world so deeply that they’re willing to fly commercial airlines into skyscrapers, detonate car bombs on a daily basis and hide among innocent civilians.
We live in the most complex and treacherous time in the history of civilization. But we’re also on the cusp of breathtaking scientific, medical and technology breakthroughs that also make the 21st century the most exciting time to be alive. It’s well worth fighting for our collective survival.
How we get there is anyone’s guess. I suppose the best we can do is work together, make a positive daily contribution to our local and global communities, show tolerance and compassion, celebrate our differences, carefully listen to one another and, if I can paraphrase John Lennon, give peace a fighting chance.