E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One.
Now that the election is over and we have a new President-Elect, it is time for our nation to heal. Our founding fathers understood that a diverse people, from diverse regions and religious backgrounds would have to be carefully knitted together to form one nation. E Pluribus Unum is the motto suggested by the committee Congress appointed on July 4, 1776 to design “a seal for the United States of America.” The founders’ understood that if they were going to be thirteen Independent Colonies forming one great country, they would have to be united in purpose, in vision, and in resolution. And so they were. Proclaiming bold in their rebellion against King George:
We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Our nation has just come through an amazingly raucous and divisive election. And we took a hit. We are weary travelers on the political road. And it is time for “we the people” to rise up and reclaim the charge and passion of our founding. We the People are the government. We are the policy makers. We decide who we elect and they in turn are obligated to serve us and our will. We have lost that passion and it is time for us to get it back. Here are some simple things you can do to help bring us back together as One America. And join me on this journey.
1. Ask a co-worker who looks different from you to lunch one day. Or just ask if you can sit with them in the break room instead of at your regular table with your friends who look just like you. In my book The Woman Code I developed the term “Courageous Conversations”. A “Courageous Conversation” is one where you listen and do not respond with anger. You express yourself with respect to the other person, even if you do not agree with what they say. You allow the other person to share their thoughts honestly without judgment. Listen to your co-worker with an open mind and open heart. It is said we have two ears and one mouth so we would listen more and talk less. The more you listen, the more you learn how much we have in common as Americans.
2. Practice Performing Random Acts of Kindness. Imagine if every one of us did something nice for someone else in America as much as possible. Imagine how this could unite us? Being a citizen of this great country is a tremendous blessing itself. We have freedoms that millions of other people across the world are not afforded. If you are in the drive-thru at the coffee shop, tell the cashier you are going to pay for the car behind you. Keep gift cards with you for your local grocery store, even just $5.00 cards and give one to the person behind you in the check-out line. You can make an effort to get to work early one day, and leave a “thank you note” on your co-workers desk saying you appreciate them and are grateful to know them. If you don’t have extra finances, you can smile at every person you see. A smile doesn’t cost a thing. Say “Good Morning” or “Hello” to other people you come in contact with throughout the day, even strangers who look different than you. Kindness is completely free.
3. Support and Engage Elected Officials. It does not matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Whether you consider yourself to be a Conservative, Progressive or Moderate. Put your personal politics aside and be connected to your local, state, and federal leaders. You can attend town halls, send emails, even schedule visits at their offices. You can even have different positions regarding public policy but we can disagree without being “disagreeable”.
4. Be Positive on Social Media & Texts. As fellow citizens, we must not add to any division by engaging in negative, rude, and harmful language on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Our words are powerful and make an impact, even those we type online. Social Media is a tool that we can use to spread love and light. It can connect and encourage each other. It can help bring us together, but not when timelines are filled with insults and threats.
5. Finally, Check Yourself. We have written before about “Praise More, Complain Less”. Are you complaining about our county? Are you speaking negatively abut people who look different than you? Or voted differently than you? What are you doing as a Church Girl to help unite others? Do you have compassion for others, even if those people are not like you? Remember Church Girls, no matter how different someone may seem from you, we are all Americans. We share the privilege of living in this great country. Katharine Lee Bates composed a song in 1913 we still sing together today. “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,For purple mountain majesties.Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood. From sea to shining sea!”
America is Beautiful! We the People with all of our unique differences make it Beautiful too! Unity and understanding is the answer to every problem. It can soften the hardest heart. It can turn enemies into best friends. We are the United States of America. And as Americans we can heal any divide by simply remembering to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:31.