Only One Person to Blame for the Divisions in America.

Desperate days in America. And it breaks my heart. I haven’t written much lately, been in bed for a few days, but these are the pivotal moments that causes this knitter to pen. And I assure you, my health problems will in no way permit me from feeling a deeper pain that has brought me to tears.

The divisions in America have become apparent. They are so cutting and clean, that it requires only one person to commit a heinous act, but an entire group to be smeared. And that is the horror of being “grouped” demographically.

If I could approach you as a singular person, value you with the moments you’ve been pained by, or laud you for your accomplishments, then all would be solved. I might just love you….or might wish to never associate with you again. And I am going to demand the same.

But, I at the very least, I gave you the one promise of judging you singularly, and not by those of your decided, collective grouping. Sadly, the current divisions we have in our country rests squarely on the idea of self groupings, by being defined by things we cannot change, as opposed to truly looking at each other singularly, one on one, and defining our relationships in that way. Because this idea of setting ourselves into separate camps, based on the things we physically cannot change, is not working.

I don’t want to be known as a gay man, or a white man. Those are things I cannot change. However, on both sides of our current political issues, we are told that you MUST make decisions based on these categories. Because, they say, people don’t like you for those reasons. It’s interesting the summations people make.

Gay man? “Oh, you poor victimized thing.”

White man? “How dare you, you racist!”

One minute I could be a victim of our “social construct;” the next minute, I could be the perpetrator of the very same abuses I accuse people of. But, if you had a moment to speak to me, you would see a clarity, that I am singular from both of those concepts. Those are aspects of mine, but they do not define me. If you valued me singularly, then I would be allowed what all of our lives desire: validation. I would be blessed in knowing that you appreciate me, just as me, and not by the constraining camps of groups that the media has decided to march us into.

Our collective groupings will not work. We cannot accept those conditions, nor should we demand them. If you want racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, or social-phobia to be eliminated in America, then you cannot demand that you be identified as your collective group. You MUST insist that you be viewed as singular. Our identities are better served when we no longer reduce ourselves to one or two socially acceptable qualifying traits.

Somewhere recently, and I blame the media for this, we were given only a few options to define ourselves. We stopped being treated as individuals, and were told our worth rested only in the words they handed us: black, white, gay, cop, conservative…..homophobe, xenophobe, racist. “You go into your corner, now you go into yours. Now FIGHT! Ratings will be huge!” (Don’t believe me? Watch “Network.”)

I’ve never appreciated labels. Unless of course, you allow me to label myself by the things I’ve accomplished, or the moments I’ve been pained by, but not by the things I cannot change.

And furthermore, we cannot APPROACH people in the same manner. I am inclined to think of the things you’ve done, as opposed to the traits you were born with. I will judge you on no other terms. I will no longer consider you one of the many mad categories the media has decided to brand you with for the sake of their own desire for ratings. I don’t trust social media. I don’t trust the message of memes.

We cannot keep blaming each other’s groups. We will fail. We can only blame each other, personally, for allowing others to define us, for allowing ourselves to be categorized by our victimization, for our crimes, for our shootings, for our reactions.

I will approach you singularly, as the person you are….only you, and not by the group you’ve be poisoned to believe you “belong” to. I’ll do this, if you promise you will do the same. And if these divisions in America continue then there is only one person to blame.

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  1. Well stated. I would only add that politicians also perpetuate the divisions into groups and manipulate the division to their advantage.

    1. I didn’t reply last night because I’ve been so upset. I’ve enjoyed all the blog posts here since I first discovered Greg’s writing. But, Greg, you’ve outdone yourself on this one — it was so well stated. As I read it, though, I was thinking “don’t leave out the politicians, too.” I was completely, and happily, surprised to see the first post from Allison Cunningham saying exactly what I had been thinking. All the more a happy surprise to see her name — since my name is Barbara Cunningham.

  2. Your thoughtfulness and eloquence has brought tears to my eyes. The human race is one family and that is the unifying force. The rest is just details.

  3. Wow!!! Gregory Patrick. I didn’t realize your life was so carefree and comfy. All you have gone through, and to this day still are going through is NOT carefree and comfy. I am glad you have Phillip to help you through these hard times. Know you are loved by me and thousands of others. Would that I could support you financially. Know you have many supporters . I am with you in thought, spirit and prayer. May the Sweet Lord Jesus bless you and keep you and yours safe, in the Palm of His Hand. Yours, in St. Francis and St. Benedict…Tobias, Eloy Arizona

  4. Beautiful, thank you. This is coming from a liberal Utah Mormon, but I’d rather be known as a knitter, retired teacher, and proud owner of one of your bears.

  5. My father in law used to say “labels are for boxes, not for people” wish everyone thought the same.

  6. Well reasoned and written, Gregory, thank you. I agree, we must stop this “group-think” garbage and focus instead on each individual. That, however, is counter to what every poitician wants. They only have power when they can control and manipulate groups of people, those groups made by color, sexual orientation, etc. The sad thing is that so many people blindly adhere to being included in whatever group. I have always disliked that idea that I can be defined and placed in a box by what group I “belong” in. I don’t belong in any group except the human family which includes every living human being on the planet (yes, as well as those temporarily in space, in the air or under the sea). I do not care what color your skin is, or what your sexual orientation is, or what your religious or political beliefs are. What does matter is how you treat me, how you speak to me, how you interact with me. Do you recognize me for the individual I am or are you more concerned with the exterior appearance of my physical body? Are you willing to just talk with me and exchange ideas without becoming a screaming idiot because we disagree? You nailed it. I’m glad to know that if we ever were to meet in person, I would be accorded the respect I would accord you and we could have a reasonable, rational conversation, regardless of our personal beliefs. I hope you are feeling better soon. I’m keeping you in my prayers.

  7. I completely agree with you. I have always chaffed being labeled, as I too find labels unreasonably confining; if you are this then you certainly can’t be that….I am so saddened as to the state of union these days. I think our uncertain economic times have much to do with the fueling of peoples fears that are boiling over and leading into violent and reprehensible acts. People just seem to lose sight of the fact that we are all humans and in that we are the same, no more, no less.
    And on another note, I just want to say how grateful I am that my gift to my nieces of your bears have arrived and are greatly admired and appreciated. Thank you for your efforts at a time when you are not at your best. Thank you, thank you. Wishing you to be restored to health sooner rather than later. Thank you for your heartfelt and accurate words as well.

  8. Well said Greg. Main stream media and social media are allowed to unduly influence our society as well as the so called leaders of this country. It is a shame that our country has come to this. As one taught by her father never to form opinions about people based on sex, race etc, it pains me to see it. My heart is torn to shreds, so much so, that I avoid social media and network media because of it. The people of this country need to return to thinking for themselves instead of letting others think for us. HUGS I hope you are feeling better soon.

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