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Putting The United Back Into The United States: Greg Freeman of ‘Greg Freeman Media’ On The 5 Things That Each Of Us Can Do To Help Unite Our Polarized Society

Remember and self-reflect. We all enjoy a trip down memory lane, right? Recall those times when people seemed closer or more united, and let’s ask ourselves, “What changed?” Is there something that, upon closer evaluation, we need to personally improve or overcome? Maybe there is, perhaps there isn’t. Either way, honest, self-examination is healthy. Also, remember that negativity is either contagious or off-putting. A friend once confronted me for always having something to complain about and forever venting about someone who had made me angry. It was humbling to receive that biting criticism, but an honest friend will tell you when you’re better off breaking something cheap or keeping your incessant grumbling to yourself. Does negativity spew from you like a fountain? Letting off steam on occasion is one thing, but constant griping is partly why our country has reached this point of division. Are we becoming a nation of quibblers, whiners and backbiters?

  1. Do some social media housecleaning, if necessary. Do our social media accounts portray us as poster children for partisan dissent? If our content or memes take cheap shots at the other side, perhaps we are part of the problem and not the solution. Remember, everyone loves pictures of cute puppies! Maybe we need to go back and clean up our pages and reinvent our social media personas. I know I have. Following the November 2020 election and its aftermath, I had strong feelings about some things and even stronger opinions about certain politicians, especially one in particular who clearly lost. I found myself posting statuses out of anger and then taking them down. We should treat each post as if it is being seen by throngs of people. Do we really want to be known for some of the stuff that’s on our social media pages?
  2. Choose words carefully. When we level insults at people, even indirectly, those words can further contribute to the divide. When I hear someone denigrate a political party, I perceive that as an insult to both legislators and voters from that party. How can one not? Sometimes even non-political replies to other people’s social media posts can open up a can of worms. My response to a prominent recording artist’s post about a mostly industry issue went viral and wound up being covered by major news outlets. Before I knew it, nearly 110,000 people had seen my reply, and many commented, some in favor of my viewpoint, many opposed. Many of the negative comments seemed to come from out of nowhere and were political in nature, having little to do with the music business. Do not ever assume that your comments on a public page are immune from being newsworthy. And always be aware that some people, who thrive on stirring the pot, are waiting for their moment to pounce. We must ensure that our words are not fuel for the fire.
  3. Be generous and kind. Have you ever done something kind for a complete stranger? Perhaps by paying it forward, as we say these days? Usually such gestures are met with gratitude, but sometimes our motives might be questioned, because many people are so unaccustomed to being on the receiving end of kindness. Generosity and kindness can do wonders for tearing down societal barriers between races and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as the emotional walls we, as individuals, have erected out of fear of being hurt. The divide in our nation is not just one of partisan bickering. So many people see a nation of haves and have nots, but our expressions of love can foster unity and bring greater awareness of economic disparities, as we involve ourselves in outreach and neighborly acts of kindness. From the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich, we all can afford to be good to each other. We can all be generous with our time and gifts. Some with means would rather give millions to political action committees (PACs) and partisan causes than invest in impoverished communities, support cultural institutions and finance educational opportunities, but I’m reminded of an oft-told story of a poor widow who, without making a show of it, gave all that she had and was greatly blessed as a result.
  4. Remain ever-optimistic! Hope is what keeps us all going. Some might argue that we’ve tried so long to end poverty in this nation, but failed. Others might insist that, in spite of decades of activism, racial turmoil will always persist. Still, many might be convinced that we have become so bitterly divided politically that nothing or no one can unite us. I denounce these arguments as utter nonsense! May we never give up on our nation’s potential to overcome its obstacles. Let us cling to hope that anyone and everyone can find redemption from their past and begin anew. And may we always search inwardly with candor and clear vision, ever striving to become a better version of what we were meant to be. By the grace of God, we can and will do it. As we grow, we will find ourselves transformed as individuals, and as a nation, in the process.

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