Founded upon diversity, the United States may soon realize that its lack of unity at crucial times has been the cause of so many of the tragedies that have been occurring lately. Maybe this is the downfall of a country that was bred upon multiplicity. What we are looking at, is a land of the free, but not so brave. The following seven instances are evidence of how unlucky we are as a country when it comes to uniformity. Although there are many more than seven areas where we lack community as a nation, how can we collectively endorse an All Lives Matter ideology when so much of our culture is dependent upon our differences? Unfortunately, this gap has erupted conflict across various communities as we all split up to take sides.
Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
1. Black Lives Matter v. All Lives Matter
Starting with the split on the issue of Black Lives Matter, many are torn as communities across the nation are faced with death. Amongst the protests, Twitter battles and Facebook rants over shootings that seemingly occur one after another, one Chicago Black Lives Matter Activist has taken it upon herself to push for a reform that abolishes the Police as a whole. Some would say that times like these call for extreme measures, but is this going too far?
"We need to abolish the police, period. Demilitarize the police, disarm the police, and we need to come up with community solutions for transformative justice" -Jessica Disu.
While racial prejudice continues to plague our country, many are desperate to come up with a solution to save lives. Some start by saying that it is not only black lives that matter. But for a race that continues to fight after a century and aims to reclaim respect and empathy, people quickly dismiss them by saying that All Lives Matter. This attitude desensitizes many to their efforts while others are more willing to call out America’s bluff:
"We live in still a largely racist, sexist, homophobic society..but until we root out the cancer of racism in our country as well as sexism and homophobia, we are doomed as a nation. We are divided instead of united people- period” -Tom Verni, retired NYPD officer
“With an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right.” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
2. Resurgence of the KKK
This “cancer,” is from a past that those from the “Invisible Empire” are not willing to let go of entirely. Even though I watch horror avidly, the resurrection of the KKK sent more chills through me than any horror movie.
Consequently, a racially discriminatory past was cemented into our culture and has garnered the KKK’s objective of white separatism against all other races. Their solution is as obvious as it used to be a century ago. Yet, today we still struggle to identify that the only way to conquer obstacles we face is together.
“[T]he deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened. And although we know that such divisions are not new, though they’ve surely been worse in even the recent past, that offers us little comfort.” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
3. Murders of Minorities Continue to be Ignored by Own Communities
While there may be “bigger” issues at hand for some, people like Romen Delifus choose not to ignore their responsibilities towards their own communities before moving on to help others.
The deaths of men like these are unfortunately collateral damage of a society that struggles to group up to solve one issue at a time. We jump into action, but only when it is already too late. If death and violence is the excuse to catapult reform, then we will always fail to realize that emotions fueled by prejudice are our own faults when we are without the willingness to empathize and outgrow our usual comforts. It is impossible to expect the President or protestors in the streets to succeed against racism when it lies openly in our homes and hides in our hearts for fear that we could be the next one to take the heat.
[S]o much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves.” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds.” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
4. Bernie Endorses Hillary
In terms of the presidential election, where emotions stir at another length on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders and his recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton leaves supporters confused at a time when they need to unite against a Trump presidency. In an article from the New York Times, “some Sanders supporters jeered her name and held signs saying “Won’t Vote Hillary” while Clinton partisans hissed “shhhh” and others chanted “unity.” However, we should recollect ourselves and take heed of his words: “It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues — that is what this campaign has been about, that is what democracy is about." Mr. Sanders, who only three months ago declared that Mrs. Clinton was “unqualified” to be president. During difficult times like these, it is a miracle to witness two opponents join together after battling relentlessly for so long. For those still rooting for him, Bernie may yet have a chance as he is not the only presidential candidate to have done this type of move in the heat of competition.
[I]f we cannot even talk about these things, if we cannot talk honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
5. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questions Trump and Supreme Court
When it comes to Trump’s success as a president, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questions that along with several other decisions the Supreme Court has come to in the past and will continue to face. The thought of a Trump presidency is unbearable, but she fears more struggles are to come when she translates that to future ineffectiveness the court might face under his leadership after the multitude of trials they have already dealt with this past year. She evaluates both the successes and mistakes the court has made with only eight justices and hypothesizes the effects that Obama’s nominee would have had on the cases they have had. Nonetheless, she is rigid in her belief that it is the Senate’s duty to assess Judge Garland’s qualifications. Once again, it is evident that cooperation, even between opposing sides, is more favorable than nothing.
I see how easily we slip back into our old notions, because they’re comfortable,... I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been. And so, I’m reminded of a passage in John’s Gospel, “let us love, not with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
6. Dallas Shooting Memorial Service
Reflecting back upon the Dallas shooting that has taken place alongside the other mass shootings America has grieved over, Obama found it necessary to point out that our strife is the only way to find hope and progress. The murders of the 5 police men left another community torn.
As we all struggle to find peace over the deaths of officers and citizens, black and white, many find it hard to believe that Dallas will be the last of the chaos. Yes, I watched the entire speech. Yes, I mourned along with those families. And yes, you should too.
But then I am reminded of what the Lord tells Ezekiel. “I will give you a new heart,” the Lord says, “and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh.” That’s what we must pray for, each of us. A new heart. Not a heart of stone, but a heart open to the fears and hopes and challenges of our fellow citizens.” -Obama at Dallas Memorial Service
Whether you support BLM or ALM; whether you are republican or democrat; whether you are Team Jacob or Team Edward; we are a country that loves to take sides under the institution that we are allowed the freedom to do so. This is a peace that so many are willing to disrupt in an effort to hop on a bandwagon that says we should take sides instead of unite. According to MSNBC, this has been Obama's 15th time speaking on a mass shooting. I hope that throughout all this chaos erupts a need for humanity and a hostile takeover of hope for thousands across the U.S.
Lead Image Credit: Jonny Silvercloud via Flickr Creative Commons
Transcript of Obama's Speech at the Dallas Memorial Service here.