I can trace my people entering this land now called the USA to 416 years ago. They came willingly, but in flight from religious persecution. Some of your families were already here when mine arrived. Mine facilitated the bringing of some of yours here. Others of you have different stories of how your families arrived here in the USA.
My people were light skinned Europeans. Yours may be different. But, whatever they did, and whoever they were, they are neither you nor me. Nor are they us. Their stories are our stories, but we are not them. We are now a citizen of the United States of America. And as such, it is time for the lines of history to be recognized as history – unchangeable and not able to be lived again history. We cannot give the land back to the first inhabitants. We would not send others back to the places from which they were brought as slaves. Most would not want to go there anyway. Too much time has passed and too much history written for that to be possible.
But we can stop whining. We can stop dividing. We can stop blaming. We can stop believing that we are owed anything because of that history, whether privilege or reparation, and simply be the people of the United States of America. Not throwing our stories away, but writing new stories of struggling and celebrating together to be something great.
We should stand together and celebrate our national identity. We should refuse to join and celebrate those whose attitudes and actions are tearing apart and drawing the lines of division. We should celebrate the things which make us each unique, but not to the extreme of believing those unique things as either superior or inferior to others.
We should be accepting of people from all walks of life even if we have an extreme difference of opinion. We should believe in one another, even when we don’t necessarily like everything we see. When we believe we are right and the other person is wrong, we should have respect for that other person especially when we cannot respect their stories. We should offer respect for them even when they offer none for us. We should stop viewing disagreement as disrespect and hate. Most of it is not. In fact, most of it is not even offered disrespectfully. It is only heard so. Let’s stop looking for things to be hurt over. Let’s stop listening for hate and offense. Let’s stop accentuating our differences and get back together and be strong. While we celebrate our diversity, which is part of our greatness, may we not forget to celebrate our oneness, which is the most significant part of our greatness.
One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
See You SONday,
Dr. SF Gallagher
© 2016 Dr. SF Gallagher