When you live in a bubble, it’s hard to understand people who don’t live in there with you. This is especially true when you live in a bubble of diversity and the nation just elects someone who only seems to care about one ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. etc. You’re shocked. Repulsed. Amazed. How could this be?
I’ll tell you how it could be, because you live in a bubble. Sure it’s a diverse bubble filled with rainbows and happy people, and to you it represents the best of America. But it’s a limited vision.
Out there, beyond the paved loop that surrounds your city, are people with different ideas. They don’t have access to diversity. They don’t see these rainbows. Their bubble is different. As a result, they don’t really care for what happens in your bubble and vote in ways that are opposite from yours.
This is America, after all. Every citizen over the age of 18 can vote.
What happened this election is that despite your beliefs, you have had to come face-to-face with the fact that this is a big country with a lot of views. And about half of them don’t align with yours. So much so that the half that doesn’t just elected someone who goes against everything you believe in.
And you’re pissed. Amazed. Repulsed. etc. I get it. But here’s the deal, had your team won, the other team would be feeling these feelings. And then they’d be screaming for vengeance.
Since 2000, this is how it’s been in America. Long gone are the days of collaboration and compromise when the politicians we elected worked together for the sake of our republic. Since 2000 it’s been “you’re either with us, or with the terrorists.” whereas the terrorists are Americans who don’t think, act, believe, or look like you.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed (and you should have too) since 2000 it’s that fighting is cyclical. Our elections are two steps forward, two steps back. Over and over. Whichever team you’re on.
Only this time the other team, the one who lives in that big bubble outside of yours, elected a man who is dangerous to your bubble. I can’t remember a time in my life there been so much animosity and fear after an election. Sadly, the other team has elected someone who absolutely conned his team into believing he can do things that he can’t.
I believe that they voted him in out of spite. Because it was their turn. I can’t believe that half the country actually wants someone in office who says he can shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose votes. And I damn sure know that not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. No, he told them he’d put more money in their pocket, and they bought it. Because for too many people in this country, their idea of the American Dream is laced in gold (you should read my book Minor King).
So here we are. A nation divided. No, REALLY divided. And our initial reaction is to “fight.” Only, that’s what we’ve been doing since 2000. “If we can just get enough people to vote for the right politicians we can control both houses and the presidency and push through our agenda because we’re right.” If you believe that one party has all the answers, then you’re delusional and have been fed too many lies by politicians who only really want power (and lobby money).
To solve this problem we can’t rely on politicians. We can’t even rely on our party affiliation. We have to take it upon ourselves to come together under the idea that we’re all Americans and we’ve been pushed apart too long by politicians who keep telling us to fight each other and that our fellow Americans are our enemies.
No one person has all the answers, just as no party or president has all the answers. The answers have to grow from common ground. The grass roots, as they say. And so this is my humble contribution to helping solve this American problem. Please don’t get hung up on it being a bake sale. We can make it a pot luck, or BBQ, or whatever … that’s not the point. The point is creating an oasis of hope where people who live in entirely different bubbles can come together to simply talk and get to know each other WITHOUT politics (or politicians) getting in the way.
Would this be hard to pull off? Of course. But if you believe there’s some magic spell that you can cast to solve this problem, or some knight in shining armor politician who can bring us all together, then, again, you’re delusional. Sometimes in life, to get what you want takes really hard work and sacrifice.
Look, I don’t want to spend a beautiful Saturday driving out to the country to talk to people who don’t think, look, vote, worship, or act like me. But I will. Because it’s that important.
Every problem has a solution. We just have to identify the problem first. If not, we’re just running around screaming to people just like us. And that’s exactly why we’re in this mess.
Have faith in the power of empathy.
1 CommentLEAVE A COMMENT
Addie K Martin
Nov 19, 2016
I always appreciate what you have to say, Jim. A voice of reason in a sea of madness. Thank you.