To all people within the borders of these United States of America and it’s territories:
We are all afraid. Everyone in the World right now is afraid. America is afraid. The leadership. The people. Our allies. Our enemies.
We are all afraid and confused. And that is ok. Fear is a natural response to stimulus and we are over stimulated. Technology and economic necessity have led us to consume more than we can sustain. We have reached critical mass and we don’t know how to adjust and, yet, we cannot carry on this way. If there is one thing we can all agree on it is if there is a will, there is a way.
We are scared because we realize now that we have a lot of problems. And like any over-achieving perfectionist, that is frightening.
The truth is: having problems in no way degrades our American exceptionalism.
To remain exceptional, we must grow. To grow, we must survive. To survive, we must adapt. To adapt, we must learn. To be exceptional, we must embrace the positive and negative experiences of learning. The time has come to accept our mistakes, embrace our current limitations, assess and combine our collective talents and resources and find a way to build a sustainable future of American exceptionalism that embraces our individuality and our collective identity as Americans.
This is not an economic or political treatise I put forth before you, but instead a declaration of collective American identity and purpose that exists for the purpose of cultivating peace and collaborative communities within our nation, respecting with utmost importance the promise of individual liberty, identity, creativity, ingenuity, and, most critically, privacy.
We must accept difficult realities. We must make difficult decisions. The fear is the worst part and we can overcome it. We can learn from it. Give yourself the time and the space to do this and you will achieve this grace. Boundaries means protecting this need for yourself and this is an inalienable right. This my lovely Americans, is what is meant by the pursuit of happiness.
First, please, take a moment to yourself right now and breathe. Put the phone down and take a moment for yourself. This will be an exercise in setting your first boundary with technology and it is a gift from me to you. These words will remain intact when you return.
I hope you’ve accepted my offering and it helped lighten a burden on you. I am about to offer you heavy insights and I do so with the acceptance in knowing you can walk away from this message and never return any time you want.
We are a world of emotional beings grappling with technological advances that stimulate our senses far beyond our emotional evolutionary capacities at present. It is time to set some boundaries so we can process this new world in positive ways and adapt to this new reality before we lose total control to the whims of the few.
Humans have an exceptional capacity for adaptation and we have the potential to heal beyond the pain if we are given the space to do so.
The most important truth each of us will not forget during this time of fear and struggle:
I am an individual human being capable of love and deserving of love.
If anyone threatens this reality, you stand your ground. No man or woman has a right to redefine your feelings, your perception or your self-worth for ANY reason.
Currently, our news media bombards our over-sugared, heavily-salted, opiated brains 24-7 with repeated images of violence and sensory assaults. Ask yourself why.
As if the sensory bombardment is not enough, the content is demoralizing to say the least. Not only are we being force-fed the embarrassing and petty antics of the political leadership for the world to see, we are also reliving the wounds of our conflicted history over racial divisions which have been unequivocally weaponized against us. Pain exists on all sides and the wounds are still healing.
This is a form of social warfare to create domestic disarray and distraction. It is a novice warfare tactic to weaken our strength as an isolated and unified nation. And for what? To sell products? To gain votes? To obtain donations? To gain tweets? For ratings? For applause? Just because? Maybe it is just a fear response.
It is time for us to stop kneeling for our causes and start standing united as self-actualized Americans, capable of combining our positive intentions, traditions, good works, passions, and pursuits to give rise to the glory of the nation our mentors and heroes hoped they would inspire in us to believe our country could be.
This was the American Dream and it is up to each generation to make it a reality.
In an act of clarity, I declare that I am an American. I wish to invite anyone who has sought to be a part of this dream to please embrace and help cultivate a positive spirit within our communities. Diversity and community is a major part of our identity.
I am sorry for the pain caused in the past. It is a regret that is a fundamental truth of who I am and who we Americans are as a people, emblazoned on us by our recent history and a fundamental truth of who I am emblazoned on me because of the color of my skin.
I was born having to accept that I am a member of a race in a country that engaged in atrocities. I accept this truth with a heavy heart and a drive to understand how to overcome the potential resurrection of past indignities.
I accept that I am a member of a species that still engages in atrocities against other memebers of my own species and against other species. I am first filled with hoplessness, then anger, then resignation and finally a rational pursuit to end it–and it starts with me, with each of us.
I am flawed. I make mistakes. All of us do. This is a burden of the human condition.
I must also admit my feelings of confusion and feeling overwhelmed and scared for my own safety sometimes when my heart urges me to intervene. I must face myself and my creator with these truths on my conscience, as we are all inevitably destined. That in and of itself is a source of pain and fear we all share. Perhaps, it is our actions in accordance with our conscience, regardless of success or failure, where we ultimately will find a state of grace. As an adult, I still dont know.
When I don’t know how to proceed, my heart does not harden, instead it opens by my choice to acknowledge. Sometimes, I choose to engage. Other times, I choose to take space to reflect on my feelings further and on how to move forward. The answer is a manifest destiny where the will exists.
As a child and as an adult, a sense of unimaginable helplessness fills my heart when I am ineffective. As a child when you see an injustice against the lives of others–you look at family, at friends, at people you know, at strangers, at animals and can never imagine hurting any of them for any reason and you see someone else do it–do you remember what you felt like seeing that as a child? It was confusing. It was scary. It hurt.
You try to figure out how to make it right. Time passes and wounds heal on the outside, yet we are left marching to the best of the status quo, but you arent at peace. An emptiness that I personally associate with helplessness creeps in and begins to consume me until its inevitable metamorphasis into anger and rage when I resent that I cannot undo the past. I cannot prevent the injustices in the world. I cannot control anyone or anything at all. The feeling makes me sick sitting here writing this. It makes me angry.
But now I know why and now I know it can be transformed, because I know I alone do have the power of I. Nobody in this world will ever have this right over me–I have the power to change myself; to decide to rage against rage. They say two wrongs dont make a right? Well, then I will negate it all together until I am left in a state of tabula rasa.
Sometimes, dearest friends, all we can do is provide comfort after the process of another leaves damage behind. Unfortunately, as much as we want to help, we are not equipped to emotionally understand the situation at times. This could lead to misunderstand and hurt feelings.
Sometimes, if we are strong enough, we can realize our own pain, accept it even when nobody else can or will; love ourselves because we all deserve love and stop ourselves from hurting someone else. Sometimes, we become hurt and begin to feel broken too. Now you have two problems and no solution.
Take comfort in knowing we all share the same frustrating fate of mind. It is the process of learning and growing. Of adapting.
The pursuit of happiness is taking the time and space you need to reflect, regroup and heal so you can love yourself and extend that love to others when you are ready. When we deny ourselves love and healing, we hurt ourselves and it hurts everyone around us. And no money, power play or distraction in the world will replace the love we deny ourselves.
The recent social unrest and divisiveness reported in the news media and on social media triggered an array of emotional responses, which can be very destruction and provocative. This set up a red flag for me. Why was I so heated? So depressed? So provoked?
It took me some time, but it occurred to me that establishing boundaries with media to give myself time to grapple with this strange and sudden eruption of emotions I’d never even knew existed within me was critical. I felt, I identified, and I learned. The key is taking the space you need to do this in private and in your own time. Easier said than done, right? Well, we make time to make money. It’s time we make time for this above all else.
Whether negative or positive in a subjective setting, all thoughts and all emotions are valid when considered in the privacy of our own mind with some caveats.
Just because we think it or think it is right, does not mean we should act upon it. Nor does it mean what we think even has a basis in objective reality. Nor does everything we think need be published beyond our own minds to have existed or be relevant. The individual mind is entitled to its own deliberative process. Simply put, if you think it, it has manifested in some way. many meYou decide to give it importance and acting upon it is not required to give be it importance. And, finally, it is always best to think before we speak and sometimes it’s best not to speak, write or push post/send at all.
The validity of ideas shared in objective reality (meaning shared in a world outside our own minds) must follow rules. These rules are the rules of politics, social cues, morality, ethics, rhetoric, law, mathematics, linguistics, science, music, logic, fine arts, and so on. This is why communication becomes so convoluted and why taking time to process (feel and think about) what we see and hear is so important.
It is important to take the time to feel and think without negatively impacting others, creating and perpetuating more pain. You then must acknowledge your emotions and thoughts, give yourself the space to reflect and understand why you feel them. Only then will you be able to move forward in a rational way that does not perpetuate the pain and violence that is being used to tear us all apart. We must stand strong by holding fast to a dedication to establish boundaries and give ourselves the time and space to be rationale.
What does technology, emotional intelligence and being American have anything to do with each other?
As an American, I am witnessing the greatest nation on Earth hurting at a time when we are supposed to be enjoying the fruits of great innovations in technology and centuries of progress made in unifying the American society into an exceptional unified nation of diverse individuals with boundless potential, strength and solidarity.
As an American historian, to be confused by the current state of affairs means something has gone terribly wrong and not because of the track we were on, but for some unforeseen, unnatural reason that has not been unveiled yet.
Representations of American pride have recently been morphed into some Franskenstein of hate monster designed to poison and confuse the American identity.
If this is being done as a campaign to demoralise and crumble the American identity and waken our nation, this is not an act of war; it is an act against humanity. We are talking about a national and cultural genocide.
To cover all bases, I will make this warning to whomever is meddling with the balance of order in the United States of America and Western European Nations and I will speak in a language I’m sure you will understand, sir:
You are meddling with the primal forces of nature, sir, and you will atone.
Technology and media have, unfortunately, become the weapons of mass destruction, in general, and they have by their very natures capitalized on confusion over this and it’s time for us as individuals–united in solidarity–to put up much needed boundaries and begin to decide our fate in this reality.
It is time to say in one collective, unwavering and resounding voice : “No more.”
Nobody has a right to make windows into our hearts and souls, to define what our thoughts or feelings mean. That is exclusively and fundamentaly our individual rights as human beings. THAT is what our American Constitution aims to protect.
If you are in my country by an act of will or birth,
if you want to be here,
if you want to help me create a unified American identity,
free of the divisive nature of identity politics,
to simply be a self-actualized and willful collective, unified force of human potential,
ready to make a cultural contribution to America based on what you know from where or however you know it,
then let us combine knowledge and will and enjoy a community of diverse knowledge, skills, art.
And let us simply call ourselves: Americans
Let us all combine our cultures into one American identity and make it our own.
I thought–I hoped that was where we were headed before all this identity politics appeared. Growing up, I may not have known where some of the traditions, foods, dances, or other contributions came from that made being American so great, but they became American and I was proud to call myself American because of those contributions as part of our culture. I want that back. I want the cultural diversity to be American again.
This is not about cultural appropriation, it is about cultural contribution to cultivate a single community under the freedom and faith of our chosen creator.
Here is a plea to the conscience of the political establishment of the United States. We are ALL Americans. You are all educated. Identity politics is ripping apart our country. Just STOP. It’s not about campaign dollars. It’s about all of us surviving this assault on our united American identity. We are in serious crisis!
It is time to bury the hatchet and find a way to turn the dial down. Things are getting out of hand and we are letting foreign dangers storm the gates in the darkness of confusion and distraction. I assure you, if you do not stand for America united, we will all be kneeling.
Revolutions are inconvenient, they are brutal and they are unforgiving. There will be no justice. There will be no logic.
Setting the now over-complicated language of the founding documents aside for a moment, please let us change perspective and think for a moment that we are seeking refuge, that we were all once refugees from danger and we hope to find a new home, a place of safety. Our nation is that place and it is in danger.
What do we want that place to be? What do want in our hearts to believe when we step foot on that soil? What will be that American dream?
Now, read or reread the words from the Statue of Liberty again until you get it. You show me another nation on Earth that you feel safe with that promise?
The New Colossus
November 2, 1883
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(The New Colossus, reposted here and available at https://www.nps.gov/stli/learn/historyculture/colossus.htm, written by Emma Lazarus, November 2, 1883)
**This is the poem that appears on the Statue of Liberty and in NO WAY WHATSOEVER was intended to be or in this context or on this site is to be affiliated with Nazi Germany or the Wolfenstein Video Game franchise.***
© Mary Strayhorne ALL RIGHTS RESERVED