The Disunited States of America

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Photo by tom coe on Unsplash

Red state. Blue state. Radical left. Radical right. We’re like two countries in one with a White House that intentionally fans the flames.

All these names we’ve come up with for ourselves in the past few years have only deepened the divide. I’m not sure what was wrong with American. Despite our differences, that’s what we all are.

Then COVID-19 happened. You would think a global pandemic that we all want to survive would bring us closer together. Not so much.

We have anti-maskers and the people who think COVID-19 is a hoax. As cases surge around the country and hospitals reach capacity, people are adamant about their freedom. Some of them are so passionate that they throw tantrums, harass nurses, and stage protests against lockdowns designed to protect people from a highly contagious disease.

In a documented global health crisis, this is where some of us put our energies.

The same people who are against the masks aren’t really into social distancing, either. Meanwhile, people seem to be getting infected when they’re in crowded, enclosed spaces.

It’s not like countries that have flattened the curve all said masks and social distancing worked.

The pandemic has divided us along the lines of who takes this virus seriously and who doesn’t. The ones who consider the virus a dangerous threat are government-controlled sheep, and those who don’t are “woke.” They know the know the reality, the truth. Or vice versa, depending on your perspective.

When did opposing viewpoints become lines in the sand? More importantly, why are so many so venomous when people disagree with them?

Here are some ideas.

We get our news from social media and commentators as opposed to real journalists. We accept that what shows up in our feeds or news source of choice at face value and don’t do any real research for ourselves, going along with whoever supports our preconceived narrative best. Many people wouldn’t know bias if it bit them in the ass because they’re so biased.

Here’s an idea: reserve your opinions until you have information from multiple sources. Take the time to look at how a publication leans or what they’re agenda seems to be. I have done that in the past and will continue to do it in the future. It’s saved me from making an ass out of myself either on social media or in what I write.

Once you’ve formed your opinion, it’s okay if someone disagrees with you. I promise.

Because we rush to judgment as a collective, we’ve become so reactionary. We want to cancel everyone who said the wrong thing 20 years ago. Meanwhile, our commander-in-chief says something offensive, unhinged, or just plain false regularly, and he still has his job.

With all our red/blue squabbling, it escaped our attention that leaders at the federal and state level left us all to fend for ourselves to keep the economy going. Instead of paying attention to and listening to scientists, we continue to follow leadership who has made it abundantly clear they don’t care who lives or dies. Since minorities are the ones disproportionately dying, they really don’t care.

Even with the chaos around us, we still cling to our idea of American exceptionalism, how we’re the greatest country in the world. At this time, we’re a bunch of sheep staying in our herds. Our shepherd is absent, and we’re wandering in different directions.

Stop the red/blue nonsense. Demand adherence to science. Vote the leaders who refused to lead out. Replace them with leaders who will.

United, we stand. Divided, we fall. Believe me, because of our division; we will fall.

Former teacher who retired early to pursue a passion for writing. Personal development content writer and fiction author. Dog mom. www.sameenakmughal.com

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