America’s birthday month has not been very celebratory this year. Once praised as a melting pot that represented freedom and tolerance it seems as if we are beginning to boil over. Back to back killings of black men by those who pledge to serve and protect, ISIS attacks in random locations, senseless shootings of police officers, killing of SUSPECTS (innocent until proven guilty?) with robots (still a WTF to me), not to mention the dangerous rhetoric bubbling over at the Republican National Convention. Let me be clear, I do not in any way endorse Donald Trump, I honestly cannot stand the man. Yet watching him last night address the nation I can understand why Americans are drawn to him.
As we seemingly become more divided, we forget we all feel the same. WE are scared. WE are hurt. WE are looking for something to change. WE want to blame someone for the unfortunate and terrible events that have transpired. WE are becoming addicted to fear and Trump is a willing supplier. You know once you are addicted to something it’s very hard let go. The addiction can swallow you whole as you fall deeper and deeper away from the person you once were into a hallow shell. Especially if you have an enabler handing you over everything you need as you fall.
I’m inviting all Americans to an intervention.
As you may know the first step of intervention is acceptance, understand there is a problem. In fact in America’s case there are many problems. They are not any one person or group of people’s fault. The problems have been built upon a history of events that exceed many of our lifetimes. For example people are saying whites and blacks are more divided than ever, but perhaps we have never been as connected as we thought. The band-aid we used to cover the wound of the history of slavery and the implications it has had on the entirety of America’s mental state has simply fallen off.
Forgiveness. We as humans are imperfect, so of course mistakes have been made. Some more egregious than others, but time passes and you must succumb. You do not have to forget what has happened but really make an effort to let it go. If you don’t, understand you’ll have a little more work to do in step four. It takes so much energy to carry the past on your shoulders. Don’t believe me? Just ask the red faced and out of breath people screaming “Lock her up!”
Educate yourself. As Americans we have the privilege of education. It may not be the best and there still is a lot of work to do to make it equal but it’s there. Do not get all your information from one source. Seek out wisdom, which is hard these days because there are so many outlets saying the same/different thing. Watching the convention made me realize how unaware I am of world events. I know basics but am no where near as educated as I should be. It’s very turbulent time and it’s important to know why things are happening the way they are. At the very least please know not to take anything a political candidate says as truth without fact checking, but too many of us don’t want to do the work.
Acknowledge your prejudice. The human brain is wired to stereotype, it makes our life easier and has kept us safe since the beginning of time. (Caveman:I should stay away from things with sharp teeth) When you begin to use those stereotypes to treat humans differently it becomes a problem. I noticed this particularly within myself lately. It’s interesting how the reactions to the killings of black men made me look at all white people with disdain, and I’m half white! (Another longer different essay-so many layers)
Acknowledge your privilege, but do not compare with others. Instead use your privilege to make the world a better place. I could lament all day about my clients I work for having more than me and how their lives have no real problems or I could be thankful they have enough money to employ me. Everyone’s problems are very real to them and you can’t discount what anyone has been through. Instead of focusing on other’s advantages take care of your own and find happiness within yourself.
Attempt to connect and try to understand. Agree to disagree but understand we are all the same. Some of us eat spaghetti mixed together in one whole pot with shrimp, sausage, and bell peppers and some of us eat noodles with meatballs neatly laid on top, but at the end of the day we all have to eat. Talk to a coworker you may think you have nothing in common with and you may find out both love gardening. You also may have been right and find out your world’s do not intersect in any fashion, but you are still living in the same world so it’s nice to try.
At this point I could be corny and talk about how food will connect us all being that this is a food blog but no. It’s not simple in any way but it starts within. We are all good people, doing the best we can with what we have. It is really up to all of us to go through those six steps. We need to question ourselves, question each other, and just let love fly free. Stop taking the drug of fear! Let’s take responsibility. The burden and beauty of change cannot be placed on one person alone. (Especially the wrong person) It will be difficult but it can’t be any harder than everything that has already transpired.
photo cred: Djandywdotcom/Flickr