At some moment, a line was crossed, and everything changed...
(It’s 4 am in Miami and I should be sleeping. But I woke up at two, unable to get back to sleep and decided to write this note to you.)
At the moment the line was crossed, the need for Democrats to hate the Republicans and Republicans to hate the Democrats became more important than being an American. (This is a manifesto inspired by America. Unfortunately, with the substitution of some political party names, the same scenario is unfolding in many other countries.)
Whenever that moment actually occurred, a tipping point took place. In that instant, hating people with a different ideology became more important than love, religious faith, or even being a good human. Bob Marley famously said, “Love is my religion.” (To give credit where credit is due, we should acknowledge the Sufi poet Rumi, who said, “I belong to no religion. My religion is love. Every heart is my temple.”)When the tipping point happened in American, it was almost as if millions of people suddenly decided, “Hate is my religion.” (You can read more about how assigning labels to ourselves harms us here.)
Of course, Democrats and Republicans have always held different philosophies, bickered about the differences, and sometimes fought dirty, believing their philosophy was ultimately superior with the end justifying the means. But at least that arrogance was based on an underlying desire (however misguided) to help the other side. I can’t tell when the “first strike” occurred that changed the game forever, or whether it was the Democrats or Republicans who fired the first shot. But whenever it did happen, political identity became more important than compassion. Hate won.
This was a defining moment for America, a moment that changed the game forever. Because up until that exact moment, such a thing could never happen here. In the America I grew up in, when we were involved in a war, political parties became irrelevant. We were Americans first.
When Hurricane Andrew hit Miami, I watched with awe and wonder, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent hundreds of members, who had taken leave from their jobs and traveled hundreds, even thousands of miles to Florida, bringing food and relief supplies. They stayed for weeks rebuilding roofs and providing comfort because they were Christians first.
Back in that America, when tragedy struck an area, no one gave even a fleeting thought if it was a “red state” or a “blue state.” We were Americans first.
When earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis affected people in any country around the world, Americans rallied to their defense. We were humans first.
Now as we fight through the pandemic, winter storms, and power grid failure in Texas, I can’t help but wonder where all those Americans went. Hell, I wonder where all the humans went.
Not many people are talking about the victims. We’re talking about Republican governors and Democratic mayors. We can’t discuss preventative measures in medical terms; only political. People are dying and we’re proselytizing for the religion of hate, one snarky social media post at a time.
We can do better.
P.S. I know some of you are dying to post a comment below to demonstrate how the other side started the fight or is solely responsible. Here's a better idea. Pull up your Spotify and play some Bob Marley instead.
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