My wife, Sylvia, and I usually sit and talk while we have our morning coffee. Of course, we have been talking about the events of the last two days with the counting of the electoral college votes and the invasion of the Capitol Building by Trump supporters. She made a comment which really stopped me, and made me reflect on the situation in the United States, being a former citizen of that country.
Joe Biden said in addressing the current situation, “This is not who we are as Americans; we are better than this”.
Commenting on Biden’s words, Sylvia said, “And this belief is a big part of the problem. The American people believe they and their country are better than everyone and everyplace else in the world. And they are not. It is time for Americans to look realistically at their history, their past and current values, and the current hatred between the two political parties. Someone needs to step up and help them begin to see themselves accurately as a country that has accomplished much, and also promoted and benefitted from terrible racism, self-centeredness and inequality. What we see today IS who they are as a people. Pretending otherwise just stifles self-awareness and change.”
And my thinking went further afield: we have a similar problem here in Canada as we address our relationship with Indigenous peoples. We have to come clean by not just apologizing for past behaviour but acknowledging how past behaviour has made us blind to who we are today. We are still not taking responsibility for the way we treated indigenous people and the way we continue to treat them.
Another friend sent me a written post about the current U.S. situation viewing it from a Jungian perspective. When people do not admit who they are, they have an internal conflict. If that is ignored long enough, it is acted out in the outer world so they can see who they really are. And that is difficult to face, so we continue to justify bad behaviour or minimize it. When we do this, friendships are destroyed, ugly comments are made, violence often happens, like in spousal abuse, and others get to see us as we really are.
We need to have serious conversations about how our past behaviour has not been acceptable and how who we are is not healthy. We need to discuss ways of reconciliation that lead us toward accepting each other and living together to build a city or a country we want to live in together.
I appreciate those around me who continue to engage with me, listen to me and also speak their truth.
PS. Just ready to post this blog and saw this commentary in Broadview Magazine. At is an expanded comment about what I am posting. https://broadview.org/us-capitol-two-americas/