friday feelings.

This is America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. A land built by immigrants. A place widely considered the greatest country on the planet. A place people work their lives to even just visit. A place where I grew up being told that I can do, be, see, become whatever I want to be. Because that's the American dream. Be yourself, do what you want - you're American, and you're free.

These days, it no longer feels like that. The hatred and offensive rhetoric started during the campaign has continued in full force throughout new new presidents term, and I've never been more disheartened by the place that I call home. "Fight", "winners", "loser", "win", "beat", "never", "us", "them", "the other" are words we've continued to hear over and over and over again. And I want to know why. Why, in a place that is supposed to celebrate collaboration and democracy, do we feel the need to insist on one party or person winning or losing. Why, in a place that was built by foreigners, do we continue to insist on us vs them conversations, focusing on the "other" which in fact, we all are in one way or another.  To the white community, the black community is the other. Yet to the black community, the white community is the other. But why can't we just be a community. One that understands, recognizes and celebrates our differences and uses just that to affect change and bring progress. 

I was brought up fortunate. Fortunate to have a loving family that instilled a sense of acceptance, love, compassion, empathy, and understanding of both myself and others. I was raised to listen, to read, to educate myself on what I don't know. To know that not everyone is the same, and to know that's what makes this place great. I'm fortunate now. Fortunate to live in a city that celebrates and embraces diversity. That won't back down when our "American values" are being challenged. A place that has led me to get to know people from all walks of life, from nearly every country, with every skin color, every religious belief, and every sexual orientation. A place that taught me that together, all of us, are just trying to get through this thing called life together.

So I wonder. Wonder why the focus now is on hate and fighting and winning and losing and us versus them. Why, when we would be so much more powerful as one?