It was an experiment, put together by people who read a lot and people who were ready to start something new. Everyone that came to America had already made that leap to try something new.
The ones who broke away from the government in place had been pondering and made a declaration “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”
That’s how my country got started as an independent nation. They disconnected from one state to become better connected with their own people. I love that in its ideals America is open to connect to everyone. In the words of poet Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
With those lines I see an America that I can have hope in. We contain multitudes and within that is contradictions. And we are large. This strange system for states to do their own thing which can bubble up to the federal level leaves room for multitudes and contradictions.
It takes contradictions to get the multitudes. It’s not easy to get consensus. In one of my favorite stories, Jesus prays in the garden before he is captured for torture and death. He prays for those who are about to betray him. Jesus whose message had been one of forgiveness and love prayed “I pray also for those who will believe in me…, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”
The miracle of loving unity requires a strong faith. It feels like a reach, and maybe even impossible. Then again, so was the American revolutionary war was a long shot. Becoming better than I have been is always a stretch.
I grew up in the 49th state out of America’s 50. Not only did our government at its inception leave room for different opinions, it left room for even more. Lay another plate on the table. There is room and there is enough. If we keep talking we can work it out.
I think of how Bob Marley and his Rasta types would say “I and I.” They are trying to embrace an idea that there is no difference between people. I am the same as you, so much that it is silly to say you. I and I are brothers, they would say. That’s a lot like what Jesus said in the garden.
It is painful to live apart. It’s not easy to live together either. And yet I believe that has more love in it, and that love is worth it.