Every month, like clockwork, traditional and social media prompts us, often in earnest, about a special event, occasion, remembrance or just a reminder that something special will occur. Some are serious and have great significance in our lives. For example, February is Black History Month, and we will, fittingly, learn about exceptional women and men who led the struggle for equality. We will also discover celebrations that seem, to us, whimsical and downright funny, such as National Embroidery Month and National Grapefruit Month. All of these special months and occasions are entombed in Chase’s Calendar of Events.
What is appealing about all these celebrations, from the somber to the merry, is their inclusiveness –that all can find one (or many) different “holidays” that matter to someone.
I mention this because as our political process gathers steam with a presidential race, I thought about the lessons learned from these varied celebratory months. They honor our differences, and that is an important expression of how all of us participate and share in the American dream.
I believe these celebratory months serve as a symbol of plurality and inclusiveness at their finest. We all bring something different to the table, but it’s still that table on which we celebrate. Celebrating our differences makes us a great nation because we build upon the cultural and ethnic strengths of one another to form a better union. Celebrating our diversity is not segmenting our society but shows its strengths. It is the hallmark of our motto, “out of many, one.” As so many actors today want us to be indifferent toward one another, let us strive to make a positive difference in each other’s lives.
There are some – and because I’m an idealist, I wish to believe they are in the minority – who would divide and conquer us for two reasons: pecuniary and political gain. The allure of power and the aroma of riches based on greed are what feed them. We must resist these nefarious forces because they threaten the moral and political underpinnings of all peace-loving citizens. They would unravel the tapestry of our democracy.
If we must clarify these differences — and there are many — I believe we can narrow the divide by asking the most basic of questions: What is it that separates us? Is it the expected checklist of differences in ideology, culture, and economics? I believe the separation is simpler and less complicated. We see ourselves as inclusive, erecting no barriers to entry other than a willingness to be fair, equal and progressive. Those who oppose us, in carefully constructed language that would appear to mimic the same ideals, wish to exclude us. Their basis for this separation rests on a misinterpretation of history, a bastion of elitism based on color, position, wealth and, most importantly, an unwillingness to accept the concept that the composition of America is changing. It has always changed. And embracing these changes, with the same fundamental ideals that created this nation, is what really makes America great.
And as a gentle reminder, don’t forget to celebrate Black History Month and National Bake for Family Fun Month.
That’s my take, what’s yours?