The great divide

I haven’t posted much in quite some time and although I have written, I’ve kept much of what I wrote private. I’m not sure why … but there you have it. Lately though I have been troubled by events happening across the US that have garnered national attention. I believe these events are the microcosm of something much bigger. Perhaps you’ve felt it as well. I know I have.

The energy around us, around me, is tense. There’s a sense of fear in the air. Everyone seems stressed. There is a huge divide building. People are polarizing to one side or another on all sorts of issues but mostly political. Differences are no longer acceptable. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground any longer. There is an underlying hate that is driving this divide and energetically everyone is feeling it.

Families are divided. Friendships are being broken and lost. A nation is being ripped apart and lines are being drawn. No one is immune to it. It all started with the presidential campaigning and then hit a tipping point when our new president Donald Trump was elected.

I will not claim to be on one side or another. What I am talking about effects everyone regardless of race, gender, political or religious affiliation.

What I’ve witnessed on the news is the the sort of thing I hear happening in 3rd world countries ruled by oppressive regimes. Are we not more civilized or enlightened? One can’t even joke about who he or she favors for fear of being singled out and ridiculed — regardless of which side of the political divide one sits on.

The recent events of what happened on United Airlines where a passenger was beaten and dragged from his seat as a paying customer and just a few days ago on American Airlines where a flight attendant lost his cool big time with a mother and two children, is (in my opinion) the ripple effect of the tension that exists right now. These are but small examples that expose a greater problem. It is not an excuse by any means. It simply amplifies what is happening across the land.

I recently watched a video where a woman verbally expressed her disdain for Donald Trump to the extent of saying she wanted him dead. And this was before he was elected as President. My point is this: Things have changed. We have made it ok to attack each other verbally, physically and emotionally. We have become morally desensitized to the point where its ok to bully. Its ok to beat up on someone whether it’s simply pointing a finger or physically hurting them. Where will it stop?

This is what concerns me most. How much more can everyone take? Who is going to snap next? Is there something you and I can do? There is no simple solution. Everything from the violent games we let our children play, to the barbarous acts on humans, to the verbal attacks by politicians and media, all play into the desensitization of our hearts and minds.

The answer certainly isn’t another political party. In my mind, it is a grass roots approach starting with each one of us. A great Kabbalist, Michael Berg in his book The Way, wrote (paraphrasing): before responding to someone or something that is going to make you react negatively, stop, pause for a few seconds, breathe and feel love for whatever the situation is. It will change the dynamics and the outcome. This has worked for me in the past and has changed my life in many ways.

I do not claim to have the answers. I wish I did. I only know what works for me in my heart. I can easily get caught up in the debates. In the righteousness of an issue. In the attacks on the media, journalists and politicians. I’ve made a choice not to watch the news. No good has come from it. I focus on what is important to me and that is my family and my friends, my true friends. Not the ones who place conditions on a friendship based on political affiliations or any other condition for that matter.

Let’s not be ok with the abuse. Always take the higher road because in the end we will be judged by our own actions … regardless. No excuses.

Let’s focus on the good that exists all around us. See the blessings and the miracles that happen daily. Be grateful for the life we live knowing there are those in places that wish they could experience a small portion of what we may take for granted. Our journey on this earth has a limited number of days. We do not know what that number is. Would you live differently if you knew yours would end tomorrow or in a week or a month?

How do you know it won’t? Stephen Covey said, begin with the end in mind.

It’s a start. In the meantime, we pray and have faith in God.