Like many Americans, I am anxiously awaiting an end to the election season and am not looking forward to the grueling year ahead. It’s important to know what’s going on and be kept abreast of the political landscape, but politics has become more about dividing us than anything else. Maybe it always has been. Politically speaking, people enjoy their camps. One person labels themself a conservative and the other is liberal so they cannot, it would seem, every allow themselves to see eye to eye or dare to agree. What’s the sense in that? Religion is much the same; even more so. Religions divide people both socially and culturally along the lines of eternal reality; that transcendent nature and question of god that so polarizes our discourse. Our faiths (or non-faiths) can create enmity faster and more efficiency than just about anything else. Every day, people are killed simply for who or what they pray to.
This all seems ridiculous when you sit back and realize that we’re all human beings and all motivated by the same primary things: love, shelter, food, acknowledgment, happiness, life, etc. These are common human themes that are a part of what we are by virtue of the fact that we exist and nothing more. Our politics, our religions, our favorite sports teams are all artificially imposed and/or assumed by us in an effort to collectively identify ourselves. They serve the purpose of creating asscociative value.
But imagine if we could find that value in merely being alive and via the pursuit of peace and the fostering of compassion for all people and all things. Imagine if our collective identity was so broad and so all encompassing that it meant being a part of the one Human Family, first and foremost.
Labeling and tribalism are not far apart. It’s not my goal to remove all labels from society. Many of them help us. But I would like people to embrace their label and differentiation only after having embraced their humanity, living by the knowledge that all people are brothers and sisters and that all people deserve compassion, safety, respect and acknowledgment.