Monday, June 27, 2016

Just What IS Unity, Anyway?

Greetings.  I'm constantly shaking my head at the bigotry and divisiveness so prevalent in politics and public rhetoric today - the U.S. elections, Brexit, and the immigration crisis in Europe most alarmingly.  We so desperately need to come together to really start solving the very real problems we face.

But just what is unity, anyway (and closest to my thinking here would be choice #3) ? In these thoughts, rather than use a static definition, I'd like to offer some snapshots to suggest the essence of unity.

Unity is nexus.

I learned the vocabulary word 'nexus' because one of my all time favorite bands, Argent, recorded an album with that title. I know in one interview I read, Rod Argent said it meant people working together (interestingly, look at the word origin - it's from the Latin for 'a binding together'). I'm sure we know of many examples of folks cooperating to achieve a purpose.  I think of my graduate school class in curriculum working as one team to give our final presentation.  I think of the Abolitionists, who, Prof. Eric Foner pointed out, sometimes had different reasons for opposing slavery but came together to fight that evil. That spirit of cooperation is exactly what is needed now to address the challenges we face. We should, at the very least, pick one or two critical issues most folks can agree on and work together on solutions.  For example, shouldn't we all agree that children need a good start?  So wouldn't it make sense for all to work for things such as universal pre-K (which does seem to be gaining ground across the country)?

Unity is peaceful.

How can we come together if we don't agree to end using violence to solve disputes?  We must find better ways of dealing with conflicts or potential conflicts.  Let's start by remembering The Golden Rule, whose essence is taught by many faiths and traditions.

Unity is not always uniform.

We are unique individuals, after all.  We are similar to some other folks in some ways,  But we all share that we are fellow humans on Planet Earth. (nod here to former colleague Dr. Fred, whose wonderful presentation I heard years ago, I still can here echoing).  I also remember the occasion when the ESL students at my college gave a play to present their English skills.  By the end, as they all stood together, holding flags of their home countries, I had tears in my eyes.  They were different, but they were united!

Unity is beautiful.

If you readers were to see a photo of a large enough group of my cousins, you might think it was a photo of a U. N. meeting.  So many races/ethnicities involved through ancestry and marriages.  Each of us is beautiful and all of us together is a beautiful sight.  We need to see the beauty in each other, even those "others" who are different from us.

Unity is freeing.

Bigotry and hate block the person holding those noxious beliefs from progressing as a full person.  They block critical thinking concerning the real problems facing us.  They build walls and encourage others to build defensive walls in return.  We need to stop that cycle.  We need to build bridges and connections instead.

Unity is solidarity.

As I've mentioned so many times on this blog, to gain progress for the 99% we need to stand together.  To get real reforms and to make things more responsive to "We, the People", we need to stand together.  We must STOP being divided and conquered!

Unity is the past being prologue.

We all know the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) knew the then-colonies had to unite to gain Independence and worked to accomplish that goal.  As detailed in another post (Music of the Spheres/Music From the Spheres), Dr. Kirsten Wood told us the founders knew the nation needed to find "harmony in its diversity."   She further noted they didn't pay attention to all the diversity of the nation. and that for us today, the task is "far more complicated but as urgent as ever."  We are called today to make further strides toward the destination called unity - one that Dr. King also pointed us toward.

Unity is Love.

After hearing Mr. Lin-Manuel Miranda, do you need any further proof?

Related Posts:

In addition to the post linked to above, all posts labeled 'unity' can be found by clicking on unity in the tag cloud on the right.

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