ALPENA — Proof piles up virtually day by day that this nation could also be divided as ever.
As Washington transitions to a brand new administration and the U.S. Senate debates whether or not the final president ought to be allowed to hunt workplace once more, glances in virtually any path reveal the Jan. 6 revolt on the U.S. Capitol was however a symptom of a number of gaping chasms alongside social and political strains.
On whether or not the Nov. 3 election was free and truthful or a farce, on whether or not authorities restrictions associated to the coronavirus defend us or oppress us, on whether or not we’re served by a free press or duped by faux information, and about the very best methods to resolve this nation’s many challenges, Individuals break alongside ideological strains.
About the one factor upon which most appear to agree is that such division is unsustainable. Politicians on either side of the aisle from Washington to metropolis halls say unity is America’s solely hope to thrive.
However what does that imply?
What does unity appear to be?
How can we heal?
Over the previous few weeks, The Information has posed that query to a number of Northeast Michiganders.
Right here’s what they instructed us:
South Sheridan Avenue resident Jim Stanley paused from shoveling snow to think about what may heal the nation’s political wounds.
“How about dialogue?” Stanley mentioned. “Actual debate. Not name-calling.”
Severe political points should be addressed, he mentioned ,however these points received’t be resolved till opposing sides come collectively and discuss calmly and use info.
That’s not prone to occur, although, Stanley thinks.
At his age, the 65-year-old retiree mentioned, political divides don’t make a lot distinction to him. He worries about his grandkids and great-grandkids and the battle they’ll inherit, nonetheless.
“I’m not in management,” Stanley mentioned. “I’ve a vote, I exploit it. That’s all I can do.”
‘COME OUTSIDE WITH THE KIDS’
Trista Kreger, a 36-year-old stay-at-home mother of three, had to surrender social media to keep away from political discord.
“You put up something, and no one will scroll proper previous,” Kreger mentioned. “They should remark, whether or not it’s ignorant or not. It’s like, why?”
Arguments on social media have been stressing her out, the South 4th Avenue resident mentioned, so she determined to stroll away.
“Nope. Simply eliminate it,” Kreger mentioned. “Come exterior with the children, do different crap.”
Main media retailers — many with a particular political bias, in her view — have their place, she mentioned.
However you must watch a number of retailers to get the entire image, she mentioned — “as a substitute of simply sticking with, ‘I’m a Biden individual,’ or, ‘I’m a Trump individual.’”
Soak up either side “and pay attention — or, simply utterly keep away from it,” Kreger mentioned.
‘FOCUS ON BEING ONE’
Ted Fines, 61 of Misplaced Lake Woods, makes a profession out of serving to others as govt director of Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan.
Fines mentioned the nation’s political divide is worrisome, as a result of it limits acceptance of latest concepts and open-mindedness. Fines, who’s married and has three kids, mentioned the heated state of our nation might cool if individuals are extra understanding of each other.
“To start out with, all of us have to discover ways to pay attention to 1 one other extra,” he mentioned. “It appears everybody has rather a lot to say, however no one can pay attention and respect opinions exterior of their very own. This has to alter, or we’re going to be in an entire lot of bother. We are able to’t proceed to be outlined as if we’re Democrat or Republican. We have to put that apart and deal with being one.”
‘GOD IS AT THE HEART OF THIS’
Jim Erickson has pastored Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alpena for many years. He lives in Alpena and is married with two kids.
For years, Erickson mentioned, he seen a development of individuals transferring away from faith and its teachings. Till religion, prayer, and belief in God returns, division will proceed indefinitely, he mentioned.
“To be trustworthy, I don’t assume there’s any hope for true unity or true therapeutic on this nation other than God,” Erickson mentioned. “I feel, the additional the nation has drifted away from God, away from the church and scripture, it will be laborious to come back collectively as one. God is on the coronary heart of this and is the one who can convey us again collectively, similar to he has many instances earlier than.”
‘A SIMPLE SMILE’
Brad Somers, 39, has been the chief director of the Boys and Ladies Membership of Alpena for over 19 years.
Somers mentioned individuals take care of lots of negatives proper now, and all people appears so indignant.
He mentioned one of many extra essential issues individuals can do is attain out to their neighbors and begin a dialog. He mentioned listening, empathizing, and understanding are equally essential proper now.
“A easy smile and a gesture to point out anyone that you just care about their day can assist an individual get by means of their day,” he mentioned. “You by no means know if somebody’s having a foul day or a very good day or the very best day or the worst day, however, having the chance to place a smile on anyone’s face simply by saying a easy hello in passing and having a possibility to get to know somebody you won’t get to know might assist one other human being get by means of one thing horrible you won’t know is happening.”
‘HAVE TO BE BREAKABLE’
Salvation Military Maj. Prezza Morrison, 57, has solely lived within the Alpena space since July, however has labored for the Salvation Military for 35 years.
As a pastor, Morrison mentioned, she believes individuals have to focus extra on Jesus and his actions: sort and loving to everybody he met, from the wealthy to the poor to these thought of diseased, even when they didn’t have the identical beliefs.
Morrison mentioned it could be time to stay silent and deal with listening and seeing individuals differently. As a substitute of leaping to conclusions, we should always ask extra questions, resembling, “Why do you are feeling that approach?,” or, “Why do you assume that approach?”
“We’re very impatient, and we’re going to should know to be affected person,” she mentioned. “And we’re going to should be breakable, too. I should be prepared to interrupt in among the areas I might need stood for for a very long time and should have thought, ‘That’s simply how it’s.’ I might need to interrupt a few of these molds and say, ‘That’s not the way it actually is. That’s simply how I believed it was.’”
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