This week has been intense and full of anxiety for many. Our country is more divided now than it has been in recent memory. I read an article from NPR entitled, “‘Dude, I’m Done’: When Politics Tears Families And Friendships Apart.”* People shared how our nation’s bitter political divide has taken a toll on their personal relationships. Friendships that go back decades have ended, with people telling one another to lose their number and blocking them from their lives in every way possible.
The Pew Research Center found that nearly 80% of Americans now have just a few or no friends across the aisle. Let thank sink in. 8 out of 10 Americans have just a few or no friends who belong to the opposing political party.
The animosity goes both ways.
So how do we possibly heal the divide?
That is not an easy question to answer. And I won’t pretend to have all the answers this week either. Experts quoted in this particular article talk about the importance of having difficult conversations with those we love. That having more conversations, not less, is what’s needed. That having conversations in person (as well as we can during the pandemic, which of course has increased all of our anxiety!) is far more productive than having conversations on social media.
Sometimes the problem seems to be that folks are often taught that talking about politics is impolite. So we never learned how to have conversations when we’re coming from different perspectives. We also make all sorts of assumptions. We may exist in our own echo chambers where everybody sees the world exactly as we do. That’s certainly what the statistics are showing.
In the end, our country remains divided.
Healing will take time. Though healing is possible. Our faith teaches us that.
If there is hope to be found this week, it’s that our God is a God of healing and wholeness.
“But now, I will heal and mend them. I will make them whole and bless them with an abundance of peace and security.” (Jeremiah 33:6)
May it be so. Somehow. May it be so.
*Tovia Smith, “‘Dude, I’m Done’: When Politics Tears Families And Friendships Apart, NPR, October 27, 2020 “https://www.npr.org/2020/10/27/928209548/dude-i-m-done-when-politics-tears-families-and-friendships-apart
(This Week’s Thoughts 11.5.20)