“I had a dream, of unity
Where we could walk side by side
But today I see that it’s only me
Just trying to get by”-Greg Graffin
This song was written in 1997 by the lead singer of the legendary punk band Bad Religion. While we have no association with their politics, this sentiment is more relative today than ever. With the 2020 US Presidential election still not behind us, there are calls for everyone to forget about the divisions between us and come together. While we all somehow want a unified and utopian society and political system, let us give our opinion why that is no only improbably but impossible. We are going down this path to help us all cope with our future and focus on the things we can control while having a grasp on reality.
We are not the same.
Part of what makes the United States great or any country great for that matter is that we are all individuals. We have unique experiences, unique cultural backgrounds, different religions and, through all of this we have our own individual set of beliefs and opinions. As much as we all can stand together and have aspirations of being one as a nation, it is just a fabrication. We are all different and through these differences we will never truly be able to agree 100% on everything and, that’s OK.
There is too much history to overcome.
History is a mother******. It also represents something totally different to different people and groups of people. It can be years of systematic racism and persecution of entire ethnic or racial groups. It can be a violent crime that happened to a single individual. It can be something as localized as a boss of a certain creed that once made your life hell. But we all have a history and this history sits in the back of our minds and in the bottom of our hearts and it reminds us that we are vulnberable. It reminds us that someone hurt us. It prevents us from opening up 100% and fully trusting one another and it is another reason we will never truly stand as one.
It goes beyond race, religion and ethnicity.
There seems to always be a focus on unity amongst different religious, racial and ethnic groups. This seems to be the deciding variable of whether or not we are truly “unified.” What about all the other differences that separate us? Fiscal opinions. Opinions on a variety of social issues. Opinions on foreign affairs. Inside each groups are hundreds, if not thousands of subcategories which all make up individual identities and values. Thinking that racial equality will equate to political or societal unity is a massive underestimation of how much truly makes each of us different.
It is through our differences that make any developed nation, work.
We spend so much time as a society wanting desperately to always stand together. To always speak with one, single voice. To all feel and believe in the same things. It seems that we forgot what makes us great and what makes any developed nation function is the sum of our differences. Unified thought, unified opinion, unified belief. Those are the signs of a society and country that lacks freedom.
Our individual voices provide varying perspectives, feelings, thoughts and outcomes across so many different issues. While we should always try to respect each other and our varying opinions, we should never strive to have group thought. We should learn from each other’s differences and try to meet in the middle. We should stand together as a unit full of differences and work together to find common ground.
Expecting society to stand as one unified thought, belief or opinion is nonsense. Instead, focus on being a better person. Focus on helping to improve the world and the society in which you live. Focus on listening more to those who feel, see and think differently than you. Equality for all does not mean we all are the same or think the same. Rather, it means we all should have the equal opportunity to let our unique voices, experiences, backgrounds and opinions be heard for the betterment of our world as a whole. We truly do have the world in our hands. What will we do with it?