When my daughter was four, she asked me: “Who made God?”
Today, at seven, she asked me: “Is America the best country in the world?”
I’m not sure which was harder to answer.
I fumbled for words and then settled on…it depends on who you ask. Different people have different opinions on what makes a country great.
When she asked if I thought it was, I answered: “I don’t know.”
Because I don’t know. If we are, then we certainly aren’t acting like it.
And while, yes, I am unhappy about the election results, I am truly distraught about the divide that this election has caused. I can’t stop thinking about it. So, despite my best efforts to bury my head in the sand and put this election behind me. I started to do research on why Americans once thought America was the best country in the world. This is what I found:
- We the People…
- …the land of the free and the home of the brave…
- …one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
- …that all men are created equal…that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
- Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
This sure as hell doesn’t sound like America today. The America my kids will know.
I’m not pointing fingers at one party or another because none of our hands are clean. We have all been shortsighted. We have all been hypocrites. And now we are all in this together.
And the only answer I keep coming back to is empathy. The divide is being caused by the lack of empathy.
We are too isolated. Too far apart. Too disconnected. Too wrapped up in our worlds to understand what the other half of the country is doing/thinking/feeling. To know our neighbors. To understand that they hold their values tight, just as you hold yours.
Shame on us.
Let’s channel that anger, that hurt, that shame to do something good. To challenge the system (not the president). To start the election process with better candidates. Let’s challenge our education system to better inform our kids about how the government works, the importance of voting, and what diversity looks like ACROSS the nation. And let’s challenge each other to broaden our circles, because I think we’ll find that most of us will agree on one thing: WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.