This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King
First, of all, I need to fess up and say that in this post I’ve co-opted relevant parts of one of my own 2011 posts. I’ve include it here if you wish to read it in full. The portions that I’ve used are relevant to this discussion, so instead of reinventing the wheel, I reuse it here. The above quote is an excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Originally, I used the quote as a prelim to a post commemorating Dr. King’s birthday. I use it now to discuss a serious problem that has overtaken our country. The problem about which I am speaking is the vitriol, rancor and hatred that has permeated America society during the last eight years. It is commonplace to refer to “red” states and “blue” states, Republicans and Democrats. All these labels serve nothing more than to further divide a populous that is already dangerously separated.
It’s “us’ verses “them.” For a too large segment of this country, agreeing to disagree is akin to an accusation of murder. It is impossible. Differences of opinions are now regarded as personal attacks, and in some cases, may lead to such. Families are torn apart, friendships are irrevocably damaged, and employees are instructed by their employee who they should vote for. Ironically, those who are the first to scream and shout if it seems that their First Amendment rights are even slightly infringed upon, are the very same people who shamelessly denigrate the beliefs and points of view of others, all the while championing their own.
On a grand scale, there is no simple or quick fix to the angry, hateful climate that has been allowed to fester for more than a decade. We cannot look to the media, politicians, or anyone else for that matter, to address the problem, because in some cases, they participated in stirring the pot of discord that has boiled to overflowing. The answer lies within each of us. Of course, there are a multitude of actions that we each can take to make sure that we are not part of the problem, but a part of the solution. The first and most important step is to recognize that there is indeed a problem. Doing so, allows you to take responsibility for your own actions, and to set a mindful intention not to add to the divisiveness.
One suggestion is to begin each day with this affirmation:
“Today I will attempt to see anything I am involved with from more than one perspective. If I feel myself getting stuck in the way I see things, I will say to myself, “I wish to see this differently,” and know that my sincere desire will result in a shift of awareness. There is really no one right way to see anything . To allow my point of view to shift will not only produce insight and relief for a particular circumstance but it will give me practice in letting my mind and move freely and independently. I will allow myself the luxury of relaxing my rigid point of view and letting new light and fresh awareness come into my inner sight. I believe that it is possible to see things in a variety of ways.” ~Tian Dayton, Ph.D.
How you choose to deal with the problem is up to you, so long as your solution is positive, and does nothing to add to the rancor and divisiveness of the day. Listening and treating others and their point of view with the respect that it deserves, does not mean that we must change our point of view one iota, but who knows, we might learn something. The important thing for the health of this country is that we “transform the jangling discord of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood,” as Dr. King envisioned. Let it begin with you. Blessings.