Monday, April 4, 2016

Is Unity Really So Scary?


For some reason what actor Bradley Whitford said in a tv interview some years ago has come to my mind.  He was still married to actress Jane Kaczmarek then and he told the interviewer that both of them had recently been nominated for acting awards.  He continued that they were left with nothing to complain about, which he said was "scary."

That rumination really struck me.  It may have been an "offhand" remark, but I really felt it hinted at something more profound.  I was still teaching at the time and actually had a great conversation with another college person about why we often find HEALING, which should be a great thing, often frightening (healing meant in our conversation all sorts of healing, physical, mental, spiritual).

This idea of actually finding something positive scary occurred to me as I thought about why we U. S. citizens, and humans generally, often are so reluctant to unify, even for positive changes.

Why IS unity so hard and scary?  Why do we so often get taken in by fearmongering, and even bigotry?  Well, to start at the beginning, naturally not everyone will see things the same way, so there will be differences of opinions and ideas of what should be done.  But it seems that it's getting harder and harder to come together and coalesce for SOMETHING.  March 31 was the birthday of Cesar Chavez and a rerun of "Mysteries at the Museum" featured a story on him and on the grape boycott, probably the most successful in U. S. history.  We're so factionalized today, I wonder how successful it would be now.  Sure, we have twitter campaigns and facebook protests, and sometimes they do lead to changes.  But it's usually just the core group that is pushing. If my memory is correct, that grape boycott drew strength from all sorts of supporters. Let's remember that a diverse group of folks supported abolition (for various reasons, it turns out) and also, later, a diverse group formed the Civil Rights Movement. We need more of that bridge-building today.

Why IS unity so hard and scary?  What are we afraid of?  Are we really afraid of any kind of linkage to anyone who is different?  I swear, I wonder if some racists think that the wrong skin color might actually rub off on them (not likely to happen).

Why IS unity so hard and scary?  What really is so frightening about it?  I'm thinking now of those who would discriminate (you know, against someone who doesn't share their "values"  or fit their mold of acceptability.  To those who have that mentality, I say: GET REAL!!!  No one is asking YOU to do or be whatever you object to.  Just not to discriminate against someone who is different or is doing something lawful. And for you NOT to pass laws enabling discrimination!!!

Why IS unity so hard and scary?  What is so intimidating about it?  Are we afraid that if we recognize the common humanity of others (even those different from "us") we'd have to start treating them better or seeing that their conditions improve?  So here I applaud those who do the good work of really helping those in need, working to improve conditions for those in sometimes horrible situations, and those who are fighting for human rights and dignity for all. 

Why IS unity so hard and scary?  What is so terrifying about coming together and trying to make some progress for most of us?  Why do we continue to let ourselves be divided and conquered?  Why don't we stand together and push for policies to upgrade our livelihoods, respect our civil liberties, and work to make our democracy more responsive?  Why don't we recognize the need to work TOGETHER to accomplish these goals?  Isn't it time we start reaching out to each other, even though it might be scary?

REMEMBER:  "Divided = Conquered, but United = Empowered!

RELATED POSTS:   Just click on 'unity' in the tag cloud on the right to peruse all the unity posts.

So, now let me hear from you!

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