A long year

It’s been a long year. I don’t think anyone can argue otherwise. It’s true that it’s been tougher for some, but as a nation we’ve been hit hard. We’ve been hit hard before, though. Every generation has had their challenge, and sometimes more than one. And every generation so far has more or less risen to the challenge. This year has been exceptional, though. The pandemic, a contentious election season, and all with no good stress outlets for the common citizen like sports or bars or movies. 

Our leaders and media, both news and social, have been in constant turmoil. Of course, they’ve done this for years, but 2020 seemed to be particularly bad. It’s hard to turn on a news station or scroll through Facebook without seeing neighbor attacking neighbor, and even families deciding not to talk anymore over ideological differences. 

But do we really have that many differences? Are our wants and needs as citizens so different that the threat of civil war looms in the air? 

I’ve traveled a lot across the US and lived in small towns and gigantic cities. I also count my friends group as very diverse, ranging from Nepalese immigrants to East Texas “good ol’ boys.” Through my travels and friends, I’ve discovered that our wants and needs are not as different as our elected officials would have us believe. We all want the opportunity to make a living how we see fit, we want the safety to raise a family, and we want the freedom to do what we think is best in our lives. Sure, there are fringes at the left and right, but the bulk of people want the things listed.

Being an American is in the heart. It doesn’t matter what color you are, where you are from, or even what language you speak. It matters that you work hard, you help where you can, and you don’t let anyone push you and your neighbors around. America was meant to be the best of the world.

However, lately it doesn’t seem that way. Everywhere you turn is negativity and someone wanting just a little more control over the common man. Personally, I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods the last few decades by people whose jobs depend on chaos and discord. The sales pitch is always “give us just a little more power and we will guarantee your safety from whatever.” But the irony is, most of the danger in your life comes from the very entities and people selling that so-called “safety.” Which brings us to our conclusion…

As noted before, most people don’t want to take the rights of others. They only want to guarantee their own rights. Those in power have clued in on this and preach that if you don’t do what they say, then the other side will get one over on you. Neighbors helping each other and getting along means the politicians and talking heads could be out of work, or have their station lessened – and they certainly don’t want that.

So the next time you hear this trope, stop and think. Think of your neighbors, even those who live a different lifestyle, and think of what they actually want out of life. I doubt you will conclude that they mean you any harm. We decide every day what kind of country we will live in. We decide with our actions and how we treat others. Twenty-twenty was a long year, but it taught me the value of my friends and neighbors, not the value of the government. The only way we move forward is together. Don’t let politicians and the media take that from you. As Benjamin Franklin put it, “We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.”

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