America is missing compassion, community and common sense

I shake my head in disagreement whenever someone tells me Donald Trump is responsible for the hell that has descended on the United States. He’s not.

He’s amplified it. He’s mainstreamed it. His narcissism prevents him from seeing how monstrous he is. But he’s not the one who started it.

My country’s bitter history of race relations is again on display for the world to see. The cause this time is familiar: white cop, black man, a deadly altercation. I’m not going to elaborate on what one police officer in Minneapolis did to George Floyd; in my mind, he murdered Floyd while three of his fellow officers stood by. You’re welcomed to reasonably disagree with me. I emphasize reasonably.

Multiple American cities again are flash points of violent protest. While all of us know the causes of it, too few get deep into the weeds of fixing it. And as long as that continues, nothing much will change.

Absent in America right now: compassion, community and common sense. We have created segregation by walling ourselves (sometimes literally) from others who call the same city home.

We see either San Francisco or Pomeroy, Ohio (look it up if you don’t know where it is), filled with people who aren’t real Americans.

We see the homeless and the poor, but for many of us they are in the way but otherwise invisible as we walk down the sidewalk.

We turn to social media to verbally harass and bludgeon people who disagree with us, often forgetting the First Amendment comes with responsibility.

We avoid the most obvious right of our democracy: voting, and our feckless politicians on the right do what they can to prevent that right from being exercised. And, yes, you on the left have made pro-choice a requirement for admission, so you’re not exempt from being unwelcoming.

A society that has been brainwashed into equating wealth with success, money with power, and ideological purity with meaningful friendship has earned what it has right now. The United States is not held together by some overarching national purpose; ask someone what it means to be Finnish, and you’ll understand what it means to have a national ideal that the majority seek to uphold.

Until the U.S. embraces a value greater than money or guns, fame or wanton isolation, we before me, then it’s only a matter of time, regardless of who is president, before another deadly event triggers another violent reaction.

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