We’re all in this together

With so much division in our nation, right now,  it’s hard for any of us to remember a frequent theme of mine: “We’re all in this together.” I must admit I too have had many an argument on Facebook,  and tweeted or re-tweeted some harshly worded political messages. Some of my social media friends may find it hard to believe, but I’ve actually refrained from posting things many times because I feel like everyone is sick of it.

So how do we breach the divide? How do we, the common folk, the labor force, the consumers, the middle class, work together? Wait, we do it everyday.  At our jobs, at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office waiting room, at the fair or the park, and many times, coming together in a crisis.

I work with one woman who hates Trump and one who whole-heartedly supports him. The funny thing is, I (and many of my coworkers) don’t like the person who shares my ideology, while I enjoy conversation with the opposing one. We never talk politics, but who needs to?

Perhaps, we need a middle-of-the-road third party to replace these privileged politicians, these manipulating players, these bickering bureaucrats.

I think, when it comes down to it, we all want the same thing. Safety, security for the present and the future for our families and friends, and everyone else, and a little extra for fun stuff, and, of course, someone special to share it all with.

Obviously, there’s a great deal of disagreement on how to achieve that, but the answer is usually somewhere in between the extremes. We all feel helpless and angry at different times when major events occur that we have no control over.   Maybe that’s why there are so many social media “debates”. It’s all we can do. Doesn’t help, does it?

Personally, I think we’re all being played by the rich and powerful as they consolidate their wealth and influence. Divide and conquer. We are certainly divided.

So, let’s try our best to remember that we truly are all in this together. We’re all just trying to get by, muddling through as best we can.

Those who serve(d)

I attended a play today that was immediately followed up by a talk back where audience members asked the actors questions, but they stayed in character, answering as the person portrayed, not the actor. They all did a great job and made it real.

Combat Conversations: Families Affected by War was the name of the production put on by One Fight Foundation and Impact Theatre NYC. It was powerful and eye opening. It was also based on true stories.

The play opened with a unit of soldiers, male and female, who were clearing a building when one of their unit was killed by an explosion, and carried out by two of the soldiers, one male and one female.

We then followed those two home to reunite with their families, the main gist of the play. It did not go as expected for the characters. Joy very quickly disintegrated and turned to disappointment and conflict through no fault of the servicemembers. I didn’t feel like it was about judging either side, though. It showed the difficulty of returning home to changed situations and being expected to instantly reintegrate to work and family, surrounded by those who have no way to know what they’ve been through.  All with little or no support from anywhere.

It also acknowledged that the family of those serving are also dealing with their loved one’s absence.

Not that it’s always so tumultuous with family dynamics, but it often is, and even when it goes better, it’s still not easy. The point is to get more support for our servicemembers returning from combat. It’s not a political issue. It’s a human issue. One that gets far too little attention from either major party, the media, and all of us.

Toward the end of the presentation, one of the members of the play’s presenters asked veterans/servicemembers to stand. I had 4 veterans within a couple seats on either side of me. The same man who asked them to stand made a really good point, that we don’t even know our neighbors names most of the time. There’s no sense of community. How do we offer help when we aren’t even aware who has served?

The media shields us from graphic photos/footage in America. In my work, I see a lot of foreign newspapers. They don’t hold back. I see photos of terror attack aftermaths with dead people lying all over, lynchings, and one very haunting image which appeared in several different papers. It showed a young boy face down in the wet sand, his image reflected in it, where he had washed ashore after he and his family drowned while fleeing for their lives from a war-torn country. I’m afraid I don’t remember which one. There’s so many parts of the world in turmoil.

Our troops are in many of them, out of sight and out of mind.

We’ve never seen war on our soil. Only veterans and those serving can truly understand. But programs like Combat Conversations are helping.  It reminds us that, while servicemembers are away facing a daily kill-or-be-killed environment and their lives back home are on hold, the rest of the world they are a part of keeps moving. Things change. When the service people return, worlds collide.

I could go on and on, but I’ll just wrap up with a heartfelt Thank You to our soldiers and veterans. I have a renewed appreciation for their experience, on the battlefield and off.