Part of our political perils has to do with the fact that Americans don’t really see themselves as part of a community. The United States of America really does not have much by way of a common identity or shared values, and it’s always been that way. We are a collection of very diverse states and cultures who have very different ways of seeing the world.
I certainly don’t feel a part of one American community, and I never have. I’ve been on the right and on the left, politically, and I’ve kicked around in some pretty diverse circles, and it has never occurred to me to think of all of us as part of one happy family, because we aren’t. I’m guessing it’s probably that way with most of us.
For me, my existence as an American has always been sort of a roller coaster ride – sometimes I’ve felt safe in my country, at other times threatened. Again, I’m guessing that’s more or less the same for you. Depending on what tribe or culture you belong to, your very existence has probably felt tenuous and fragile. There are things about our very identity and affiliation that give us a sense of fragility – our gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, social status, immigration status, or political affiliation, to name a few of the big ones.
The big question I have: Can things change?
Can you conceive of an America where most people feel safe? Where people feel secure and proud of being a part of one nation, a member of a community, something like an American neighborhood, a nation we all share?
Out of the many, one? Or are we doomed to forever fight each other?