We Ain’t No Archipelago

Why did I start this blog? It started with my dad’s passing in September, and then the election kicked off this whole game for me. My dad – well actually both my parents, but my dad in particular – was all about politics. Where most families sat around talking about their day at work, we talked about the “taboo” subjects: politics, religion and death. It’s all we talked about. I liked to think of us as the poor man’s Kennedy’s but a little more morbid with the whole death thing.

So, as part of my quest to find myself, I got online and started sharing my opinion on different political issues after the election since it had always been part of my life. On a personal level, I had never been overly involved in social media in the past. I knew that posting on Facebook and tweeting wasn’t much, but it was a start. And, hey, our president runs the country by tweeting so it’s worth something, right?

But, I couldn’t get my voice out there. To be clear, I’m on the left – the whole globalization, free trade, open immigration, equal rights, socialized medicine side of things. When I started posting online, however, I was hounded by the other side despite the fact that I consciously made an effort to try and speak to that side. I purposely approached the discussion from the human perspective rather than the political point of view because I knew open discussion wouldn’t happen otherwise.

See, I grew up where the other side lives. I have family and friends on the other side. Despite what social media would have me believe, I know they aren’t bad people. I also know they will go out of their way to help others, and they all care for the types of people who may be feeling a alienated by the current administration. I know this to be a fact.

When I was repeatedly bombarded with aggressive comments by someone I had known since high school (even after I had asked the person to stop and apologized if I had offended him), I knew something wasn’t right. Social media wasn’t helping our current situation. Everyone was trapped in a bubble.

I didn’t want to be in the bubble. So, I got out. I started a blog … or two. I realized social media wasn’t the solution I was seeking.

Now, politics are politics. You have to pick a side. And yes, they impact every aspect of our lives. And yes, you should feel passionately about them. If anything positive has come out of the presidential election it is that there is more of an interest in our nation’s politics.

Now, I lean to the left for one simple reason. The left is about “us.” It’s about “we.” It’s about brotherhood and caring for one another. For me, that is the more spiritual path. The one with more grace and caring for our fellow human being. It aligns more with my core values.

The right, from my perspective, is more about “me” and “my money.” It favors the rich and hurts the poor – somewhat opposite of the way most Americans think and live.

If I’ve learned anything over this past year, with my father’s passing, it is true that no man is an island. Even if you think you are and you strive to be, one day, you will need someone else. There comes a day when we all need a shoulder to lean on. It’s inevitable.

From my perspective, the left provides that shoulder. The right creates an archipelago, and we ain’t no archipelago.

Regardless of your political leaning, however, we have to learn to respect and love one another again as human beings. Our government may crumble to the ground one day. We may lose everything we know. We may not be America forever. All that we may have left is one another. I hope that’s not the case, but I say this just to point out that we’re people. We’re not politics or politicians. We’re forgetting that we all have to live together and survive together no matter what comes our way.

And that journey starts within. Only you can decided how you react to another person’s opinion. Only you can decide how you will treat another human being.

That’s my goal, and maybe it’s my purpose. That’s yet to be decided. But if I can help one person take that first step in moving toward a better society and a greater humanity, then I’ve provided a service here.

 

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