Like always, I’ve been following all of the good and bad stuff in the news. Under the latter category, I’ve been thinking of the people in Nebraska who were affected by the “bomb cyclone” that hit there a few days ago. There’s a lot of bad in many places around the world, but I’m focusing on Nebraska right now because it’s been called a “historic” and “monster” storm, creating both devastating floods and a blizzard that have displaced an unknown number of people.
I do have another motive for highlighting Nebraska, and that is because it is known as one of the reddest of the “red” states in the U.S. By comparison, I live and teach in one of the most consistently “blue” areas of the country (and I guess I am personally more blue than red). But note that in reality, most states are purple. Anyway, this is a bit personal, but today I donated to one organization with the specific intent to help people in Nebraska.
I’ve never been to Nebraska, and off the top of my head I can only think of one person I’ve ever met from there. I’m not wealthy, and it wasn’t a lot of money. Nor am I looking for praise. Rather, I was just hoping that if I made this public, someone somewhere, maybe Nebraska, might see this as a tiny symbol of good will from a blue area of the country at a time when this country is so polarized.
On this site, I’ve tried for years to promote the idea that all people everywhere are all related, all connected, and that we are more alike than we are unalike. Also, there appears to be a “mental switch” that we can flip on or off that causes us to see people as more like us, or something alien and other. In times of difficulty or tension, it is rather easy to flip that switch off, and put that love to sleep, with often tragic circumstances.
The truth is that all people, even identical twins, are simultaneously both similar and different from each other. Which one we choose to focus on makes all the difference. Right now, despite the red-blue chasm of difference, I’m focused on the similarities I have with the people of Nebraska who are having a hard time right now. We’re all just people, whether we live in Boston, Nebraska, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Syria, Central African Republic, etc. etc.