Thinking of Nebraska in a Blue State

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.


2 thoughts on “Thinking of Nebraska in a Blue State

  1. I love your thinking here! It seems to me the internet is doing quite a bit to divide people by allowing them to form information bubbles or communities of incestuously like-minded people who have among them little or no genuine contact or understanding of people outside of their own bubble.

    Yet, the internet is also at the same time making possible people from quite different cultures to meet and associate with each other in ways that they discover they have more in common with each other than they have differences.

    I have lost count now of the people I’ve met online who I think and feel as having more in common with me than my rather obnoxious next door neighbor. Egypt, India, Australia, England — the nationalities have become almost irrelevant, the cultural differences almost mere spices. And that is despite that — wherever you go in the world — there are also people like my next door neighbor.

    Ideological differences can be profound.
    Other cultural differences can be even more profound.
    But inherent human nature appears to be everywhere in the same ballpark.

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