Unity despite trivial times


Andrew Tapp

Andrew Tapp, News Editor

As I was laying in bed listening to CNN reports about the Trump protests and the shooting at a Mosque in Quebec, I was also scrolling through Twitter to see what else was going on in the world around me, when, all of a sudden, I scrolled past a tweet from my friend Mark Carlson who had tweeted out the link to the Beatles’ hit “Come Together.” Naturally, I started playing the song, and then I was caught in this maze of noise of blaring reports of a shooting at a mosque in Quebec, commentary on protests in most major airports in the U.S. and, faintly, the sound of The Beatles creeping in from my phone.

I muted CNN and just listened to the song. As I’m lying here, watching the footage from Quebec and of the protests, the song gets to its end, and I just keep hearing over and over, “come together.”

The question is: how could this song that came out 48 years ago still hold relevance to us today? The answer is not hidden in some textbook or left best to be debated by intelligent philosophers and great theologians. The answer is simple, because the answer is within us. It is a value so strong within us that it cannot be ignored nor silenced, and that value is unity.

Throughout human history, we can see that unity is one of the few common themes. Even when times have been tough and wars have been raged, we still can see where people, just like you and I, bonded together to achieve a common goal and to better humanity. They came together against those in power, those who sought to destroy them, and those who would do whatever they could to end them. And they made the world a better place.

Think of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He had to stand up against police, governors and at times, even the President of the United States. Even though the strength of the opposition seemed to be insurmountable, he still had people backing him all the way, even when he was imprisoned. Why? Because he unified people and called them together to help the cause of Civil Rights and better humanity.

Humans naturally are sympathetic beings. We long to help each other when we can. We try to support one another when it is possible for us to do so. Anne Frank, who had every reason to say the worst about humanity as a whole given the terrible conditions she lived in, said, “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

People, at their core, are good. However, sometimes they have been put through something, seen something or had to do something that has changed them for the worse, but at their core, they’re still good.

The Founding Fathers realized that unity was important, so they put it right at the top of the Constitution when they said, in the Preamble, that we the people were to “provide for the common defense (and) promote the general welfare.” They realized that we needed everyone to come together and unify if we were ever going to get this country off the ground. Fortunately, they were successful and now, 238 years later, America still stands strong.  However, are we as united?

I’m watching protests across the country that are unifying people who are opposed to the travel bans and border wall executive orders Trump has enacted. However, I don’t see Trump supporters coming out and joining them. I’m not saying they should, because everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion in an open democracy such as ours, but are we truly uniting all people for one cause, or is the other ideology just not showing up? Even in the early days of America, there were people who disagreed with each other, such as Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, but they both came together and worked for the betterment of the young nation in President George Washington’s cabinet. After the Civil War, which saw America torn right in half, members of the South came back and joined the Union by sending delegates to Congress, and now, all 50 states are represented in our bicameral system.

However, I fear we are shown to be a nation that is starting to fissure and split once more. We often hear of terrible homicide rates out of cities like Chicago, or police shootings in cities like Dallas or violent protests in cities like Baltimore. Keep in mind, though, that I said “shown” to be splitting. We are at the beginning of the crack. We have just now started to breach the surface of this division among us, and I firmly believe that it is not too late to turn around and stop.

However, this ideal cannot be done by one person. Everyone must be involved, and I mean everyone.

I’m talking to you, liberal, and to you, conservative. Instead of yelling at each other and saying that the other’s opinion shouldn’t be heard because you disagree or someone might be offended, why don’t you sit down, maybe over some delicious coffee, and peacefully discuss your opinion and honestly listen to each other and try to understand where the other is coming from?

I’m talking to you, Christian, and to you, atheist. You both have very different belief systems, which is what we want in an open society like ours, but insteading of bringing up scriptures and scientific facts to hurl back and forth at each other, why don’t you pull up a table next to the liberal and the conservative, get yourself a cup of joe, and civilly discuss your viewpoints and beliefs. I think you’ll learn more from each other than if you had been screaming back and forth for a couple of hours.

And, yes, I’m talking to you, President Trump, and I’m talking to you, everyone who disagrees with him. I personally see the validity in both your arguments, but are we sure this is the best path for our country? You’re signing executive orders to build a wall on the U.S – Mexico border and putting travel bans on certain countries and certain people to keep those in search of a better life out? That’s not the way America is supposed to run. While these protests have been cool to watch, and while I’m still in awe and shock as to how many people showed up to them, what good are you doing if Trump and his people are not listening? At that point, you’re just disrupting people trying to go about their day-to-day lives. While you might need a slightly bigger table, pull up some chairs, keep the coffee brewing and LISTEN to each other. We cannot spend the next four years in this state of disarray and division. So, put away the executive orders for a second, lower the signs for just a little and give one another a chance to present their arguments as to why they think what they are doing is right. Listen to each other and figure out how we, as the people and government of the United States of America, can live in peace and harmony with one another.

The time for this unnecessary violence, bigotry and division is over.

It’s time to come together, everyone.