“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
~Martin Luther King Jr.
I believe the story of America can be compared to a long lasting marriage. When we first started out, we had high hopes. Dreams of being the happiest, most successful union that ever was. The relationship was formed, committed to working together for the best interest of the partnership. Collectively we vowed out loud as a public declaration to how sacred this newly formed relationship was.
But as with most well intended marriages, soon came the cracks. There were disagreements about freedoms, slavery, women’s voting rights, wars. And the union became weakened. Both sides retreated to their corners and grew bitter and angry. For a long while, these disagreements led to a separation and America didn’t know if it would survive. There was so much division and outrage how could it ever be repaired?
Over time, America decided that it wanted the marriage to work. Their dreams were still there, down deep, worth saving. So America, battered, bruised and with hurt feelings all around got back up. They made concessions, they compromised, they listened to one another’s plea to be heard. They made changes that would alter their original course but that was okay because saving the marriage was more important. They once again became proud of who they were, what they had overcome and recognized that they had something special. It was worth all the forgiveness and compromise it took to get back on track.
And with this renewed commitment toward unity, they accomplished great things together. America sent the first humans to the moon, invented the automobile, the light bulb, discovered electricity, the Kodak camera, radio transmissions, flight, banking, recorded music, air conditioning, vacuum cleaners, the Panama Canal, telephones, tractors, jazz, insulin, television, penicillin, radar, electron microscope and finally… computers, just to name a few.
But just as with the ebb and flow of all marriages, we are once again witnessing cracks in our relationship with one another. Each side blames the other for being selfish, short-sighted and mean-spirited. And once again, both sides have retreated to their respectful corners to emotionally shut down any conversation. They vow the other is misguided and wrong with such conviction that they even resort to loud chants, throwing things …even hurting one another. They can’t possibly fathom the other side’s opinion. Each side stands sure footed that their feelings are the right feelings to have and until the other comes to their corner, all communication must cease. Arms folded and angry, we wait for the other to concede. Compromise is seen as weak and an impossible notion to consider. The tide has turned, the crack too wide, the division and pain too deep to save the relationship. Secretly they both wonder, is this it? Have we truly gone too far this time?
It is in these moments of our relationship where we are being so heavily tested that we must ask ourselves:
What is it that we truly hope to accomplish by this stand off?
Is the goal to be right? Or is the goal to be heard in order to make the relationship stronger?
If it is the latter then there comes a time when you have to stop and consider, truly examine what it is you’re trying to achieve. Is it validation you’re looking for? The proverbial, “You were right, I was wrong” scenario? Do you feel as though you give and give and it’s never enough? Do you feel disenfranchised? Is it change you’re looking for? And finally, could it be that you are so wrapped up in a martyrdom which only serves to fuel such bitterness that you can no longer listen much less entertain coming together to fight for this beautiful dream you once believed in?
Will it take a an outside war, death, national attack or personal destruction to drive us to cling together once more? Is this the only way to recognize the magnificent gift we have created together… adversity, unimaginable mistakes and all? Do we not deserve forgiveness for our sins, every one of us, in order to save the union?
If not, if we choose to split, divorce one another, then what?
Where do we go from here? There is no other family better than ours, no place on earth more wonderful even with our wart-filled past. Let me be clear, there is no where else to go…
Yes, we have made grave mistakes. We will continue to do so. We are human. In the past, we have overcome these bleak moments by renewing our vows to be more committed to one another, to treat each other more respectfully than before. We commit to making the bond even stronger. But most importantly, after all the heated rhetoric, the breaking glass and name calling…we listen, we forgive, we come together and we compromise.
America is a relationship worth fighting for because of our core dream, the pride, the desire to be great…to be good to others around the globe… and the beacon of light for others to follow for how to be strong, decent and kind.
I am willing to come to the middle, to leave my strong opinions in the corner, to forgive, to apologize, to listen, to compromise because I believe in this marriage between us. We’ve accomplished incredible things in the world together, isn’t that worth the pain of forgiveness?
Is this marriage worth saving for you? If so, I stand with open arms because I love you…
I miss who we once were together so much…is it really too late to save us?
Please say you’ll try…Because I believe in U.S.
God Bless America… always.
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