With the advent of spring comes a sense of hope and renewal. However, a bleak picture emerges when we consider politics, especially as seen by many of the media pundits, as well as politicians themselves.
But Americans tend to be a resilient people, a people who have surmounted many daunting obstacles, including war, the Great Depression, the abhorrent practice of slavery, and others. Now we are faced with a degree of political schism that is deeply disturbing to many, including this writer. But I believe we can get past this acrimonious period, which has resulted in political deadlock in Washington.
We must not be distracted in our quest for peace at home by involving ourselves militarily in crises abroad; one could be excused for losing track of the countries involved — Egypt, Libya, Syria, Russia, the Ukraine and Crimea. We cannot hope to heal the wounds that have been inflicted in other nations when our own nation is also afflicted with extremism and political strife.
We need to exercise our penchant for common sense to extricate ourselves from political paralysis.
It does little good if liberals talk to only liberals and conservatives talk to only conservatives, if people of various religious backgrounds do not dialogue and discover common ground between their faiths, if folks from differing economic strata do not talk to one another — at more than a superficial level. There is also a tendency for young people and seniors to isolate themselves, an unhealthy practice, in my view.
This is still the United States of America; we remain one amazingly diverse people, and diversity has always been our strength, though we lose sight of that fact sometimes. While in graduate school, I studied creativity and learned that innovation is fueled by the peaceful interaction of cultures, of various ways of life.
Also, folks from the North and South are not as different as we pretend to be. For example, having lived for extended periods in both regions, I am aware that neither racial tolerance nor prejudice is confined to a single section of the country.
Buncombe County is certainly a case in point. Much creativity is facilitated here by cultural diversity.
I believe that we will emerge from this time with a much greater appreciation of dialogue and accommodation. No Party or political persuasion has all of the answers. My hope is that Americans of tolerance will hold sway in the end.
Frank is a poet-essayist-songwriter and advocate for the poor with a teaching-counseling background. He has counseled in school and agency settings.