Prior to the 1860s, America was vastly divided.
While the Northern and Southern states were deeply immersed in the civil war, the eastern and western regions were held apart by vast physical distances. It would take months to travel across the country by boat or carriage. Once America set the goal to unite the east with the west, we tackled enormous obstacles and made great achievements. Building a railway system was an incredible feat. Building bridges over valleys and tunneling through mountains was accomplished with a mix of mainly hand tools and grit. In 1869, the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, comprising of 1,776 miles of track was completed. Cross country travel was reduced to merely a week. The connection across the country was tremendously improved.
Soon after the country was connected by railway, the original predecessor of Amazon.com was created. In 1872, Aaron Montgomery Ward established the first innovative mail-order business.
As a united and expanded country, we discovered ways to work better together and established a framework to cooperate with each other. Managing coordinated schedules across the country led to the adoption of standard time zones in 1883.
Over five quarter-centuries later, we have learned to reduce the physical distances of living and working environments to an absolute minimum (in some cases). Prior to the year 2020, the choice to live or work within the minimal proximity of others might even be considered a luxury. All these luxury advancements have become flipped upside down with the worldwide spread of fear of the new pandemic.
A new challenge begins. Health professionals try their best to control the virus but lack scientific data to feed their decision making process. Political leaders take extremely decisive actions moving either towards freedom or security. The latter frequently coupled with authoritarian overreach. Individuals, concerned and predominantly benevolent, find themselves clashing in beliefs as information media streams fed opposing “facts”.
We move father apart. Listening to structured narratives creates deep valleys. We distance from each other. We isolate. Open dialogue ceases.
As a society, we seem to have experienced a wreck. An unforeseen disaster occurred. A tremendous amount of good people went into immediate action. Some guesses were right. Some were wrong. Many people have been doing the best for all of us. Others may be acting for just a select few. It is time to come together and right this wreck.
Working together and staying connected has always made our country (and ourselves) better and stronger. While we have not avoided making mistakes and may have endured painful struggles in the process, we have advanced further as a united whole.
Building a bridge across the valley requires true dialogue. True dialogue requires an eagerness to tune in to others. True dialogue allows understanding and compassion.
Strengthen our bond.
Understand each other.
Serve the whole.
Reunite. Accept. Recover.