This I Believe

Ken - Morganfield, Kentucky
Entered on May 7, 2007

This I Believe

Sometimes we seem to live in an increasingly polarized world where, even within our own comunities, to take a different stand is viewed as hostile and even unpatriotic. In fact, nearly everyone always thinks the other side is hostile or even unpatriotic. All the time. It is how we are.

All wars are protested. All social adjustments in favor of a minority’s rights are resisted. All changes in the social-economic status are resented. Too often it is big labor against big business instead of a genuine attempt to compromise.

It is how we compromise. We take differing sides. We struggle. We end up with a settlement perhaps neither side really wanted. And life goes on.

We are in the midst of another increasingly difficult adjustment brought on by another war that some of us think was inevitable and others think was unjustified. Whatever, the task at hand is where do we go from here? We will struggle with it awhile and we will eventually came to another compromise. We always do. Not everyone will be happy. Perhaps nobody will be happy. But life will go on. It always does.

Our genius is that even while we are divided on issues, we still come together as one when the chips are down. The following poem is dedicated to that genius.

Olio

We are a diverse people

living in a diverse land.

It has always been so for us.

Some came seeking opportunity,

others fleeing war, pestilence, famine and tyranny.

Some of us came in chains.

Even with barriers erected to keep us out

we keep coming.

Something gnawing in our guts compels us,

“Seek ye the promised land.”

The newest wave has always been met with suspicion,

But after living next door awhile

We meld into neighbors.

We never all agree on anything.

We have never fused into one race-culture-outlook.

We will never blend into one religion.

And our politics are almost always divisive.

It makes us what we are,

unique—

Americans.

Let no enemy mistake

that in our diversity

we won’t stand together in crisis.

For crosshatched like layers of plywood

in our differences lie our strength.

For all our contradictions

We are one people

under one flag

And divided we stand.