This Fourth of July, let’s resolve that bottle rockets and barbecue aren’t enough to celebrate the 240th birthday of this great nation.
Our country needs more from us. America feels more divided culturally and politically than at any other time in recent memory.
The right hates the left. The left hates the right. The poor resent the rich, and the rich resent the poor. We’re wrestling over bathroom rights, immigration rights, minority rights, religious rights – you name it.
Let’s declare a truce, if only for today. And let’s take a moment to realize that the situation is far from hopeless, no matter how bleak the unfolding presidential campaign makes it seem.
Believe it or not, you can help cinch the sociological seams of these United States back together a little more snugly.
Here’s five personal resolutions you can embrace to (really) help make America great again:
Invite a liberal to lunch. Or a conservative – whichever is opposite to your political outlook. You’d be surprised how much you have in common. Remember “Friday Friends,” that series of interracial and cross-cultural lunches Mecklenburg Ministries launched about a decade ago?
Those weekly one-on-one lunches didn’t “fix” race relations, but they definitely helped participants better understand cultures and people who differed from them. That’s worth something.
Visit a mosque. If you’re a Christian or a Jew, that is. If you’re Muslim, go visit a mosque or synagogue. You don’t have to agree with everything you hear and see, but you will recognize that same sense of community that makes your own house of worship so precious to you.
We don’t make business decisions without doing market research. We don’t take tests without studying. Why do we think it’s OK to judge an entire religion without doing any primary research, without speaking in-depth to at least one person who follows that belief system?
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Yes, a rapidly shifting global economy is leaving many of us behind. But it also presents a world of entirely new possibilities. Companies need tech workers so badly that they import them from India and other countries by the thousands.
So, you can mope and blame others. Or you can invest in yourself and change your world. Go back to school, seek retraining, hunt down charities that can help you – whatever it takes.
Break out of the echo chamber. Social media powers the national conversation nowadays, but not always in good ways. It clumps us in like-minded “friend” groups where we all agree with each other. Seek out news sources or Facebook groups whose ideology counters your own. You won’t agree with them, but at least you’ll be reminded that a different perspective exists.
Volunteer. There’s nothing like helping others to remind you that, despite it all, we all need each other, and that this country needs us all.
Resolve to do these simple things, and you’ll really help make America great again. (Or, if a certain Manhattan real estate developer has soured you on that phrase, you’ll make America even greater).
Happy Fourth of July!