No matter what you think of it politically, The Wall is an apt metaphor for America 2019.
No, I’m not talking about that Wall. I’m talking about a figurative Wall that we put up collectively, creating a willful lack of empathy in how we view each other and treat each other.
We’re perpetuating a winless game about taking sides, like kids playing sandlot baseball. Whether it’s a multi-billion-dollar physical Wall or anything else that insinuates itself into the national conversation, there’s only two ways to feel about it: either you’re for it or agin’ it. If you’re not taking sides, why not?
On which side of The Wall that we’ve cleverly built between ourselves do you stand?
Remember, there is no right answer. There only are arguments and insults. The middle ground is a nether land nobody wants to inhabit or even visit. Extremism is in. Moderation is out. Take a stand. Yield no ground. Find an enemy. Demonize. Rinse. Repeat.
Dialogue has been replaced by warring monologues. We talk past each other, over each other, at each other, against each other. Anything to avoid talking with each other.
Why? Because we’re all too eager not to understand the “other.” To some extremists, even Diversity is a dirty word: If you are like me, I like you. If you are not like me, I resent you. I mock you. I don’t want to understand you. I demean you. I invalidate your right to an opinion.
Words used to matter. Not so much now. Words are weaponized. We co-opt their meaning to suit our prejudices and our politics. We infuse them with venom.
Doesn’t everyone want to be progressive, as in moving forward? That was before it was spelled with a capital P. Doesn’t everyone want to be conservative in carefully managing finances and deliberating before acting? That was before it was spelled with a capital C.
Conservatives see Progressive as code for moving backward. Progressives don’t trust Conservatives to be prudent in protecting the electorate.
Pick a side. CNN or Fox? Red or Blue? Investigation or Witch Hunt? Stand or Sit? Truth or Lie? Socialism’s immoral. Capitalism’s amoral.
The moral of the story is that The Wall separates us. It defines us in the negative. It prevents open communication. It blocks sunlight. It throws shade.
Isn’t it time we got over The Wall, to catch a glimpse of the other side?
Only then can we start tearing it down to make room for what needs to replace it: A bridge to mutual understanding. If that sounds like a bridge too far, then let’s start walking toward it right now. One step at a time.
See you on the other side.
Bruce “The Blog” Apar promotes local businesses, organizations, events and people through public relations agency APAR PR. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-275-6887.