“A house divided against itself cannot stand…” – Abraham Lincoln
The Divided States of America
Honestly I have struggled with writing this blog. I knew it was the right topic at the right time but the subject has brought up so many emotions in me, to the point that I no longer even want to frequent my social media pages, especially my Facebook.
In my near 3 decades of life I have never seen as much divisive behavior as I have since moving to the United States, especially since the start of this year. (Don’t get me wrong I am seeing this worldwide too, especially in my home country with the recent EU and Independence debates.)
America is a country that is known for it’s passion and for passionately standing up for their beliefs which most of the time isn’t a bad thing. But this has become twisted and a negative of the country as I have realized that on most things there are now 2 extremes of every situation and very little middle ground being sought after. People are more wanting to prove they are right than to risk compromising to find a middle ground that is best for the country.
A recent video I watched made me realize that a part of this is a desperate attempt to define ourselves in a way that we want to be perceived in making the right choices and doing the right thing.
And that’s a theory…
I am a fan of a number of Youtube channels and one of my favorites in a channel called Game Theory.
Stay with me, even if you aren’t a gamer. (If you are and like to theorize on things in games then check the channel out).
I watched the most recent video from show creator MatPat and was blown away by what was discussed. Check out the video yourself here.
Although speaking primarily of the view of gamers, MatPat discusses the “Social Anthropological Principle of Out-Group Homogeneity Bias”. One of the prevailing theories in this is that we are seeking to preserve our identity, and as we are complex people with many things that define us it is easier to define ourselves by what we aren’t.
Our brains will lazily oversimplify complex situations through availability heuristic. Our brain takes what little we know about a group we are not part of and label everyone the same way based on the small amount of information we have.
Our country has divided itself in just about every way possible, whether it’s;
Probably as hot a topic today as it ever was ranging from ridiculous racism claims like an airport attendant being called racist for saying “Lucky You” to a black actress getting to fly first class, to massive movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter following the police shooting and brutality claims against members of the black community. And now the recent fall out from Jesse Williams award speech which some construed as racist toward white people.
We have seen massive outcries just in Hollywood for racial insensitivity as cries of white washing ring out for the casting of Tilda Swinton (a white, Scottish woman) being cast to play The Ancient One (an elderly Tibetan man) and Scarlet Johansson (A white American Woman) to play Motoko Kusanagi/The Major (a Japanese woman) in Ghost in the Shell.
Gender is a hot topic with a rise in the feminist movement seeking to have equality for women that they don’t see having been met yet and the massive Transgender Bathroom usage fallout that had people at each others throats.
Sexuality is still a massive point of discussion with both people for and against sexual diversity making headlines where we have seen the passing of a Bill allowing Homosexual and Lesbian couples the right to marry one another and also a mass shooting just 1 month ago in a gay night club.
We have seen Christianity striving to have Christian values that America was founded on fighting to keep those values in an ever changing landscape of the country, as well as Muslims facing mass racial stereotyping based on the Muslim terrorist groups that we have seen acting over the past several years.
And probably the biggest dividing point this year is politics with people fervently fighting for their party and the parties stances with blatant refusal to find a middle ground on policies and beliefs. Whether it’s gun control, abortion, free healthcare and education or immigration you can guarantee that both sides have a different view on it and the other side is wrong. And to make it worse, each party cant even agree within their own groups with lead candidates Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton splitting their parties opinions on who is best to run America.
What’s the Answer?
Honestly we need to get over ourselves and stop worrying about proving ourselves and our point right. Sometimes we fight so hard to be right that we forget why we arguing our point in the first place. Everyone in America who has one of these stances is arguing them because they want to see what’s best happening for not only their life but for America and everyone that lives in it.
That answer is that we need to Love!
We need to seek to find a middle ground where we can live in harmony with people without tragedies taking place. You won’t agree with every decision or lifestyle choices people make and that is okay. What isn’t okay is treating people like crap and berating them for their choices and even from a selfish perspective, at the end of the day it doesn’t put you and your stance in a very good light.
Seek to shine a light and show love to everyone around you and seek to help where you can no matter who they are and what their situation is. As the Youth Pastor of my Church said “When light shines, it doesn’t pick and choose.”
And I will give the final word to John Cena. #WeAreAmerica