After the massacre in Uvalde Texas, many people came together to demand that change be implemented, even though a few politicians were obedient to certain special interests.
It's clearer than ever that the country is deeply divided, as evidenced by recent events which culminated in Jack Del Rio being fined $100,000 by the Washington Commanders. It has become two distinct countries sharing the same borders.
It's not about trying to change the sad reality or convincing members of USA Red or USA Blue to leave. (My preferred goal would be to create a piece of land in USA Purple. This is where most Americans would prefer to live, but cannot because of a two-party system that requires an oath to all plansks. This is about the shared reality of political discourse which has turned into hatred, insults, and profanity.
There is no room for debate. No middle ground. It's all about black and white. It's all true. No one is going to take a step back to question whether their position is sound or needs refinement. All energy is spent on circling the wagons and crafting talking points that support the position we like and attack the one we don't.
The reaction to Jack Del Rio's fining and the denial of Colin Kaepernick's arrest are the best examples of the NFL divide. Kaepernick was supported by a free-speech group that fervently supported him. Now, they argue that Del Rio's punishment for speaking his mind was justifiable. The Blue Lives Matter crew, which chastised Kaepernick's disrespect for the nation by kneeling during anthem, is now supporting Del Rio's efforts to minimize an attack that placed many blue lives in danger.
No matter what our perspective may be, we get so involved in defending ourselves and fighting back against others' opinions that we don't even attempt to engage in rational debate. Although it's two banjos playing at once, they are actually playing two very different songs. We shout out our opinions so loudly that no one can hear them. We are at the point that we don't want.
Much of the truth is still in the middle, as it always is. Even though much has been lost in the middle, it is now a dry, barren bed. It is a wide, empty section of the Red-and-Blue Sea.
I don't know how to deal with any of this. Things that are obvious to me and others who think like I seem wrong to other people. It's actually getting worse than it is getting better.
One side believes the other is under a spell. Perhaps both sides are under a spell. We are being driven to focus on the differences that make us different, regardless of whether it is domestic or foreign.
We are all more alike than we are different, in our cores. We are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. Cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts. Co-workers. Friends. Neighbors. People who want to live their finite, fleeting years in peace, harmony and happiness.
We are trying to divert from the things that divide us. Unless and until those things overlap with football, what we do here is meant to be a diversion. As you know, I believe Kaepernick was unfairly treated. However, I believe Del Rio was treated unfairly as well. He was publicly chastised by others who disagreed with his view that January 6 was a "dustup in the Capitol." The team imposed a fine on Ron Rivera, because he was the only person in the building with the moral authority and credentials to pay it. It was a business decision. This was the same as the league's decision to not allow Kaepernick to play.
The Commanders are concerned that Del Rio's comments, if not punished, will prevent them from receiving free money to build a new stadium. The NFL and its teams were concerned that Kaepernick's employment would lead to a smaller fan base who will pay less attention, time, and money to the game. Both were incorrect. Both were wrong.
I choose to believe that there is a middle ground on many of the issues which are driving us further apart. It will not require a world war or war of the planets. I am hopeful. We can end the cold civil war that has divided us since the beginning of the hot. If we focus less on the latest facts and more on finding the common thread that binds people with fair minds and open hearts, we might be able to stop the divide.