The Divided States of America

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The United States of America seems to be anything but united, with many people believing that the country is more divided now than at any point since the Civil War.

There are so many instances of divisive hate happening every day that it’s hard to keep track of everything that’s going on, but here’s a few of the most recent examples.

A Muslim imam and his friend were gunned down while leaving a mosque in New York City.

An unarmed black man was shot dead by the police after he approached them for help in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ten people were stabbed in a mall by a man who asked if the victims were Muslim before attacking them.

Thirty-one people were injured when a bomb went off in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

A gunman killed 49 people and injured another 53 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

This isn’t including the hundreds of instances of police brutality, the dozens of school shootings, or the countless assaults and acts of vandalism. These acts are occurring so frequently that we are quickly becoming desensitized to the violence and atrocities happening around us.

While there are undoubtedly many factors that go into the motivations behind these attacks, they all boil down to one simple fact: the victims were different from the attacker.

This divisive “us versus them” rhetoric is bombarding the airwaves and news media, in large part due to the presidential election. We hear Donald Trumps’ statements about immigrants and witness the rise of his racist neo-conservative base. We are seeing some of the worst aspects of humanity increasingly rear its ugly head, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the negativity that we are being confronted with.

This is what these acts are designed to do, to drive us apart and turn us against each other. If this is allowed to happen then we have given up that which makes us great: our diversity.

We cannot allow the actions of a few sick individuals to determine how we treat those who are different from ourselves. These differences should be embraced and celebrated, not ridiculed and feared. Our nations old motto, E Pluribus Unum—Out of many, one—exemplifies the inclusive ideals that we should strive to.

We are a nation of immigrants, the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It doesn’t matter what religion you belong to, what is your native tongue, or what is the color of your skin.

We are all one race, the human race. We are all brothers and sisters, and we are all people deserving of mutual respect.