About a week ago, a near stranger approached me and started asking about my personal opinions on the turmoil in Libya surrounding the killing of Ambassador Stevens. It was intended to, and succeeded in, making me feel really out of place. The reason it made me feel so awkward is, because that’s just not how people communicate. It’s not a socially acceptable conversation starter to just walk up to any person you’ve barely ever seen before and say, “Hi! My name is _________. What’s your current position on our involvement in Afghanistan?” Later that day though, I began to find myself thinking about it and what I realized was that the conversation starter what could have been a joke, that little attempt to make me feel out of place, it shouldn’t have worked.
No, I’m not trying to make some statement on how people should be more accepting of each other, or how every one should have their own opinion. That’s not what this article is about. What I’m trying to get at is how distant people are from each other. Why is it strange to me when another person asks me about a current event with such directness? It effects all of us, why is it so near taboo to just talk to another person about an event which both of you should be able to relate around?
Topics like the death of Ambassador Stevens shouldn’t divide us, they should unite us. This country was founded on the principles that anyone, regardless of race, color, or creed could live here together as one people, but over time it seems in some respects we have just become more and more separate. Instead of tragedies like this bringing us together (as I think they should), all they seem to do is get added to the constantly growing list of topics to argue about. In our two-party system nothing is above the fray. Anything that happens is immediately manipulated from its true implications to its ability to be applied in the constant tug of war that is our political system. That attack wasn’t just on Democrats, or Republicans, first and foremost, that attack was on people, and that is what should matter.
An American embassy was attacked, American lives were lost, and yet it seems American’s aren’t even thinking about it. Conservatives are thinking about it though. So are Liberals, and Christians, and Muslims, because no matter what tragedy occurs we always fall back into these groups, these categories that shouldn’t define us as they do. I understand the urge to be included, to be accepted. Everyone has that desire, but why must we make the groups so small? So exclusive? Why is it no longer good enough to be an American? You have to be in your own political party, or go to a certain place of worship, or have parents from another country. Well, I for one don’t want to be any of those things. I don’t need any of those extra titles anymore. I don’t want to be called Scots-Irish, or Hispanic, or liberal, or even UU. I just to be I just want to be called a person. I just want to be called an American.
What are your thoughts? Share your comments!