A Note on American Unity

By: Bella Costa, RSM Intern

In the aftermath of the capitol insurrection in Washington D.C., leading to deaths, arrests, and a larger sense of discord and grief sweeping the country, we would be remiss not to address and unpack some of what our readers may be feeling. What happened earlier this year and what has been happening during protests turned violent in this country across the political spectrum in this country is eye-opening. It has shown us what is at stake if the rhetoric in this country continues the way it has been. As iterated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”

In the next issue of RSM, we talk about the importance of empathy in the “Editor’s Note.” We talk of allowing ourselves to become vulnerable and sensitive to the burdens of others. While we wish to remain apolitical, we want you to know that we are feeling the pain and regret resulting from the unrest, much like you may be. 

One thing that most of us can agree on is that what the country needs most is for us to let go of the division and divisive language and mindset that has prevailed in recent years, and for us to fight for her to evolve into a more peaceful, or “perfect”, union, in the words of our founding fathers. MLK Jr. said it best: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred” – we need to reflect and grow from the events that transpired in this country and rise above them.

 While we have a long way to go, the first step will be to sow seeds of unity among Americans. At the heart of this, is the need for us – all of us – to be kinder to one another, and look beyond the poisonous hatred to better understand our fellow humans. Because the truth of the matter is that America is a great country, with significant, if problematic, history. The merits of this land and the hope and prosperity that it represents for many Americans and non-Americans alike as a revered developed country, is stronger than the lies and deceit that have debased its spirit and morality.

Live during a 1970 show, John Kay of Steppenwolf vocalizes this in an intro to the song “Monster”:

 “What it’s all about, really, is despite the things that are wrong with our country, there are far too many good things worth saving to let it go down the drain. So, I think we should get together, as much as we can, and bring about change.”

We are not naïve enough to believe that the alleviation of the dissension in America is going to be a cakewalk. The truth is that for justice and wisdom to prevail, we’ll need more than platitudes and attempts as pacification. Peace can only come from justice. It could mean continued tension, until a resolution is reached and the country can heal from the wounds caused by divisive words and misinterpretations inflicted over the years. It will require a lot of effort on the part of some of the most powerful leaders in the country, but it is also incumbent upon us as Americans to put forth effort to open up the dialogue, and take steps to understand each other. If we can be empathetic towards one another, recognizing our nation’s troubled past, we can become a stronger union than we’d ever dreamed.