• Bliss Wood

United We Stand

Today is an amazingly beautiful fall morning in the mid-South! In these few hours before the coming rainstorm, the sky is the bluest hue, dotted with white and grey puffs of clouds scooting by on their way to somewhere else. I am encompassed in the colorful swirl of the most brilliant leaf showers of gold, red, and yellow. It is such a good morning for a contemplative walk.

Considering the pulse of the world, especially the United States (after our recent presidential election), contemplation and walking seem to be nurturing companions to help me make sense of these tumultuous times.

“United we stand, divided we fall”, words from “The Liberty Song”, written by John Dickinson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, has been ringing in my ears for the past few days. At first, it was a slight background noise that permeated my conscious activity, but today, on my morning walk, “united we stand, divided we fall” positioned itself front and center in my consciousness.

It’s no surprise that there’s been an abundance of chaos, fear, aggression, and even hatred filtering through our world today. WIth things like an ongoing world pandemic, a fiercely divided presidential election in the U.S., and violence across the world, it’s no wonder that people are on edge and worried about the future. We are definitely living in a time of unprecedented upheaval and change with little clarity as to what the future holds.

The unexpected mantra of my walking meditation, united we stand, divided we fall, repeats to the cadence of my every step. United we stand… divided we fall has such a powerful resonance and is, quite possibly, a gentle warning to us all!

My fellow Americans and global community, it is my sincerest hope and most ardent prayer that we take to heart these words.

“United we stand, (or) divided we fall.”

Because of our recent presidential election, America has been on my mind a lot more than normal lately. Pre and post election activities of this country continue to astound me as fervent supporters for both candidates argue truths as well as sling unfounded accusations toward both parties. Emotions can get in the way of looking at (and reporting) the truth.

The beauty of this country is that freedom of speech allows such rhetoric, and yet, it can also be the demise of decency and morality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech, however, I believe our speech (and journalism) must reflect integrity, honesty, and reality. Emotional reporting and name calling cannot and will not bring about satisfactory and true results. As a matter of fact, frenzied, emotional reporting can actually break down democracy and create division so wide that we might not be able to call ourselves the United States anymore.

There’s a simple undermining quality of humanity that seems to always get us into trouble…the ego. Without getting all psychological on you, let’s just say that the ego, (our personality) is important, however, many of us place too great of an importance on our ego and less importance on our intuitive sense of truth and goodness. The ego is concerned with “me myself, and I, and worried that we won’t get our fair share of the proverbial pie. Ultimately, our egos are run by the emotion of fear, which creates thoughts of division and separation.

What causes an emotion? A habitual thought (or belief) causes an emotion. Thoughts are prompted from things we read, hear and think about. If we are constantly listening to, or reading hate speech or divisive (“us against them”) comments, how in the world could we possibly see both sides of an issue, a story, an action? If we could just step outside of our emotions for a minute and see how manipulated we have been, we might have a chance to heal this humungous rift that has developed in America and in the world.

Let’s talk about our news sources for a moment, in particular, social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, Google (and MANY more) are all programed to only show you what you want to see or hear. They use intuitive software to monitor what you watch, what you buy, and even, what you say in comments and chats. They all use marketing algorithms to subconsciously “sell” to you.

Haven’t you noticed how, after you’ve looked up that electric hammer on Amazon for Uncle Henry for Christmas, that now all the pop-up adds are showing you electric hammers?! It’s the same way with political news. If you show any political leanings one way or the other, the only news sources that will “pop up” in your social media feeds are for that particular party/candidate, thus skewing your ability to see both sides.

Scary, huh?!

(Check out the movie The Social Dilemma if you have any doubts at all!)

A deeper look at the phrase our forefathers built this country upon, “United we stand, divided we fall”, will give us greater insight as to how our collective choices will shape our future.

Such a simple concept, United we stand…together as a nation, as a global community, we are strong. We accomplish things. We care for our peoples. We expand our horizons. We create vaccines that heal and we send astronauts to the moon.

Divided, we fall apart. We stonewall communications and leave our most vulnerable populations in poverty and ruin. We forget about humanity and worry about “what’s in it for me”. We are more concerned with personal winning and being right rather than caring for another human being and being kind.

One of the most famous biblical comments, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is plain and simple. If you want love, wealth, and prosperity, then you better darn well, want it for and offer it to others too!

America has spoken, and we have a new president, however close the race was. Let us not get stuck in division and hatred. Let us not be duped by unfounded rhetoric and social media algorithms. Let us not divide ourselves from our families and loved ones!

Instead, let’s look to more cohesive, kind, and connected communities. Let’s think twice before we mindlessly allow Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, Google… to sell their opinions to us.

Let’s work and play together as families, friends, communities, and countries to create positive momentum in our lives.

If 2020 has shown us nothing else, let it teach us presence, silence, and the power of conscious and responsible communication.

United we stand…(or) divided we fall. It’s your choice!

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