It has been an extremely stressful time not only here in the US, but across the globe. With a pandemic still wreaking havoc, and an American election that also finds the country solidly divided, I feel that President Roosevelt’s quote speaks volumes.
Roosevelt’s thoughts speak to my own feelings about countries, people, and inclusion.
It’s important to take a step back, look at how much we all share, and imagine what kind of world it would be if we’d allow ourselves to see our own humanness in others.
Division is not the answer; it never has been nor will it ever be. Think about how much more pleasant it would feel if we were all united for the common good. The mindset of “us” versus “them”, or “winning” versus “losing” immediately puts everyone in a category or nonsensical construct that truly doesn’t serve any of us.
Cultures are interesting; they are human-made, and in many ways are positive and beneficial. However, I’d like to demonstrate how we look at groups that we consider not our ‘own’.
A town’s high schools have baseball teams; they are considered each other’s rivals;
The town puts together a baseball team to compete against another town’s team; they are considered each other’s rivals;
Each state puts together a baseball team to compete against another state’s team; they are considered each other’s rivals;
The United States puts together a baseball team to compete against another country’s team; they are considered each other’s rivals.
But what about the fact that high school rivals are now on the same team competing for the USA “against” another country. At first, there was a feeling of “us and them.” Now you are “us,” yet a short time ago they were thought about as “them.” Maybe one high school team treated their rivals with disdain; suddenly, the disdain is gone because your uniform is now the same as mine.
Do you see where I am going with this? We compartmentalize others based on who we think they are, judging that ‘others’ must not be the same as the collective “us”. This just is not the case.
I find interesting when an astronaut describes seeing the earth from space in its entirety. Looking back ‘at earth’ they see us as together, sharing one planet. Everyone on that beautiful planet, from the astronaut’s perspective, appears to be on the same team. And the truth is, we actually are on the same team, whether we realize it or not. But I think it’s time to put that realization into the forefront.
Inclusiveness: I cannot see us as ‘they’. Us is all of us.