Last week was political turmoil.
We saw a botched Iowa Caucus, a tensely partisan State of the Union address, and the Senate’s decision to acquit President Donald Trump, bringing an end to the impeachment trial–all in the span of three days. All of these historic events have sparked anger and deepened tensions throughout the country.
We are divided, and we seem to be more focused on that hostility than how we’re going to move forward as a united nation.
Trump’s State of the Union address has been met with both criticism and praise.
But he sparked widespread outrage during when he honored Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Limbaugh, a conservative radio personality, has used his platform to spread hatred and division; he is known for using racist, homophobic, and sexist rhetoric. Nevertheless, Trump recognized him for his “tireless devotion” to the U.S. and the work he has done to “inspire” people.
This is part of the problem. Why are we thanking people who spread hate? As our country tries to move forward and become more socially aware, tolerant, and kind, why are we still pretending that people like Limbaugh are deserving of honor and respect?
We need to come together as a country, not idolize the people who divide us.
That division was evident throughout the State of the Union address. At the beginning of the night, Trump appeared to reject Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s handshake. Then, as the night concluded and Trump left the podium, Pelosi tore up a copy of his speech.
Both of these actions have been lauded as empowering and brave–or childish and divisionary. There are two sides and they are almost incapable of seeing the others’ opinion.
Brave or not, let’s not lose sight of the truth: this hostile polarization between politicians and parties is doing more harm than good.
Our energy needs to go toward rectifying injustices at the border, increasing healthcare coverage, and guaranteeing equal rights and protections for all Americans. Our country seems more divided than ever, and we aren’t fixing these legitimate issues with rejected handshakes or torn speeches.
Senators, representatives, and everyone else seem to be fighting. Meanwhile, people are still dying. Suffering is still rampant, especially as winter progresses.
The days are dark. Icy tensions seem to be everywhere we look, but we shouldn’t live that way.
We should be focusing on our own interpersonal relationships to stay warm when winter comes. This includes spending quality time with your friends and loved ones, getting to know them, and growing with them.
People are still people, no matter the climate. People will open up if warmth is offered. It’s possible to build communities even in feet of snow.
However, that does not mean that we ignore the cold.
People can connect, but life cannot flourish by itself when it’s too cold for too long.
Life cannot go on if the weather doesn’t warm up, again. Life cannot go on if we keep causing the earth to stay frozen.
Life needs spring, but life doesn’t last through the winter if people aren’t tough, resilient, and smart enough to work together.
The winter actually gives us the opportunity to disconnect from the communities and to shut ourselves inside our own homes. Some people don’t have homes, though. And they are the ones that need tough people to help.
Winter is reaching its depths, remember to reach out for help and reach out to help.