Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 18, 2016

A Call For Love in a Divided Nation

Alaina Lewis

I’m not omniscient, and I cannot speak to or for everyone, but what I do know is that a very wise man once said, “A nation divided cannot stand.” This quote is attributed to the American president Abraham Lincoln, someone who knew a great deal about divided nations. I hold no grand allusions about equating this election to the Civil War; however, this division among our country is palpable for the first time in my life. 

In a time of divisiveness, fear and hate, it feels so easy to give the advice of “Love thy neighbor,” but it isn’t always easy to practice love and tolerance in the face of the unknown.  A practice of mine is to not hate; I find it to be a toxic emotion, one that has polluted social media and cable news since the primaries began.

Living in a world with so much hatred is hard, and trying to find a shining light through this hazy time of the unknown is hard, but things that are difficult teach us resilience and to find hope among the vast sea of all that is not known. 

All people are complex creatures, each one with a unique moral code formed from his or her environment and personality. Some hold faith as a base to their moral code, while others hold their upbringing as their base. No matter one’s background, viewing others as humans, stripped of political affiliation and emotional reactions, can be helpful. Who are they when a friend is in crisis, or when a stranger is in crisis? It doesn’t always work, but it could be a place to start to mend relationships and bridge the gap.

Some may not have broken bridges, but collapsed bridges to an unfixable point. That’s okay, too. No one has any say in how someone else chooses to run his or her life. If you choose this route, though, it may be best to forget that the bridge ever existed, and let no one think lesser of you for this fact.

At the end of the day, we must cohabitate this space, willingly or not. So, when someone says, “We will have to agree to disagree,” leave it, and let him or her rest. So many of us, myself included, are exhausted; we need to breath. This will be hard for all, but if we can make this world a better place I whole-heartedly believe we should.

Try not to confuse my optimism for passiveness, but I refuse to harbor hate. I hope that one day we can come back together, but if we can’t, I will stick to my philosophy. I will hold my head high and stand next to the tired and the poor, the huddled and the wretched. I will stand up when I am called to action. I will refuse to stay quiet, but I will use my voice to talk to those who don’t stand with me. I will remember to be kind, even in the face of hate or judgment, because it costs me nothing to do so. 

Above all I will remember who I am and what my moral code is.