my mission, I didn’t take much
time to stay abreast of the latest news. I would hear bits and pieces of the
latest depredations of foreign countries, a lot about Donald Trump, and some
mutterings about “those darn
Democrats” from my parents. Without
taking time to actually formulate a coherent position on any of these topics, I
decided that the nations of the world should try harder to get along, that I
don’t like Donald Trump, and that
partisan politics isn’t for me.
over the past two weeks—since the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival,
really—I’ve noticed a common thread in
the biggest headlines in the newspapers at work and in the news apps I recently
added to my phone. The United States is in serious trouble: Our Union is
disintegrating, whether you like it or not. And after giving it some thought, I’d like to offer what I think is the
one thing our great nation, and indeed all of us as individuals, need the most.
That’s right, everyone! The United
States needs more friendships, within and without.
I’m not talking about merely being more
civil with each other, or ending the destructive tribalism that currently
wracks the land. Yes, it’d be great to
solve those problems, but I fear we’re not being
courageous and bold enough to halt the disaster that is looming over the world
when we focus on these issues. We need to start going out of our way to make
new friends, to nurture those relationships, and to serve them with true care
many friends do you have? No, I don’t mean on
Facebook, I mean actual friends, the kind of people that you share honesty,
kindness, laughter, generosity, and loyalty with. The kind of relationships
where you feel comfortable bearing your soul, and listening to them bear their
souls in return.
What’s that you say? You don’t even have a relationship like that
with your spouse?! Dear reader, I beg of you, make whatever changes are
necessary in your life to start developing that kind of relationship with
every person you meet. Don’t concern
yourself if someone isn’t interested
in being true friends with you, but open yourself to being true friends in the
case that they are interested. And do whatever you can to pursue that
friendship in every sector of your life—at home, at work, and everywhere
believe that only by turning our country into a nation of friends can we
conquer the overwhelming challenges of our day. While we squabble together and
focus on fighting the other, we lose the opportunity to become,
individually, emblematic of the American Ideal: E Pluribus Unum, Out of
Many, One. We need to be unified, yes, but we can do even better. We can care
for each other, love each other, desire the best for one another, and be friends
with each other.
challenge to you is to start by strengthening your relationships with your
close family, then your extended family. Build strong bonds with your spouse,
your children, and your parents. Then start to reach out, and seek opportunities
to express care for your coworkers and others you interact with regularly. You
needn’t be intrusive, but you can show
them that you’ll be there when they need a
shoulder to cry on.
friendship among Americans, the United States is doomed.