By Yuliana Kim-Grant
The election with no end seemd to have the entire world holding its breath as we waited for the drip, drip, drip of results coming in county by county. At 11:26 A.M. on November 7 the election finally got called for Joe Biden. The eruption of celebrations in cities across the United States and the globe resembled the joyous dancing and singing we’ve witnessed in countries after the ouster of a despot. In 2008, when we elected our first Black president, the celebrations were about hope, not the relief that seemed to fuel these spontaneous dance parties.
After the celebrations have ended, the reality of our country’s divisions beyond red and blue, revealed on November 4, will be impossible to ignore. The divisions were apparent to us these past four years, but it was humbling to see the shear breadth of them in numbers; 71 million of our fellow citizens did not join in the celebrations. The urgency we felt about this election, unlike any other, was less about policies than about the ideals we hold dear. The idea of E pluribus unum (Out of many, one) is what held the country together after a civil war, after the Great Depression, after the unrest of the 1960s, and after two planes flew into the Twin Towers. I’m certain the chasms that were revealed after each of those events in our country’s turbulent history probably felt as insurmountable and as dire as we feel in this moment.
Ironically, the polarization has been fomented by the very technology that was created to shrink the world and bring us together. Some would argue that this technology helped create echo chambers that separated people based on algorithms, eliminating the nuances that are necessary for people to engage in any constructive dialogue. Our country’s survival will require each of us to play a part in building a bridge that will enable each side to meet halfway. The work will be hard, challenging enough to warrant us waving the white flag of defeat, or worse, resignation amid so much noise and division.
When I consider how we begin to build this metaphorical bridge, I think about the pioneers who ventured West in their buggies. As each family set off into the unknown, they were propelled by determination and hope in their destiny being rewritten by their own hands. Their determination and hope have become the current that helped keep aloft the ideals of E pluribus unum. Each immigrant who arrived on our shores with their belongings also brought with them that same determination and hope. The freed slaves, who constantly faced challenges to their livelihood and to their lives, kept fighting for their rights and dignity with determination and hope. Now, in the face of such a stark challenge, each of us must find that well of determination and hope bestowed upon us by those pioneers, immigrants, and freed slaves to try to create that more perfect union and to uphold the ideal of E pluribus unum.
Yuliana is a yoga teacher, author, wife, and mother. Find out more about her at https://www.yulianakimgrant.com.
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