For Memorial Day we advertised this hat; Patriotic with hopes of inspiring greater unity and coming together. Some of the responses were troubling to say the least. One man demanded that I PROVE (yes, all caps) that we were not a a left wing organization committed to installing a Muslim hierarchy of control designed to over throw the current world order. His feeling, explicitly spelled out in detail, was that I was part of a greater movement involved in a civil war which was already well under way. I toyed with responding but chose the path of prudence (or was it fear).
What troubles me most is the root hatred that runs so deeply behind the mechanisms of our world, the venom on social media, the inability to speak and reason with each other as rational people. This is a person with whom I have no personal relationship what so ever. What is the source of this anonymous anger? How will we ever overcome it? Would I have been more true to myself wading in to this conversation with reason?
These divides are progressively tearing us apart and, as a proponent of unity, that really worries me. What is, in fact, going on at the BBQ in the awkward moments of silence and glancing from those with whom you do not agree? How will we ever get to a place of reasonable conversation beyond the baseline prejudice of instant anger? For myself, the doubt may hit me for a day like a punch to the gut but, in the longer run, I have to return to what I truly believe. We are more the same than we are different. Knowledge of a stranger will at least increase understanding and, who knows, you may make a new friend. Be kind everyone. The more you know about all those around you, in person and online, the more you will come to realize there is no other.