While in Ireland recently, I witnessed the divide which still remains since the last conflict in 1969 between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which was once the country of Ireland.
While there, many tour guides tried to impress on us tourists the fight was not between Catholics and Protestants, but rather between the Unionists (who wanted to remain under the United Kingdom’s rule and happened to be mostly Protestants) and Nationalists (who wanted to keep Ireland whole and happened to be mostly Catholics).
It made me wonder what our country would be like if the South had won and seceded from the rest of the states. Imagine having to have a passport to travel from Illinois to Florida.
I don’t have any answers. God, I wish I did. However, I do know as long as people think only of their agendas or feel superior to others, we will not have peace in this country – or the world.
Perhaps what the younger generation is doing in Ireland might be a start. Instead of sending their children to either Catholic or Protestant schools, they have created schools where children of both religions can learn together … not only their lessons, but also how to get along with each other. To embrace their differences. To not fear each other. To work together for a common goal.
My heart is breaking for what recent elections have shown the world. Our people used to be proud to be one – Americans. It has fractured into African Americans, Mexican Americans, Polish Americans, etc. Robust debates between political parties have become mud slinging, digging up the worst in their opponents.
At the end of the second debate, a gentleman in the gallery challenged Trump and Clinton to “name one thing you admire about the other candidate.” It was amazing.
Is the divide so large we can never return to oneness?
Only the future will tell.