The Divided States of America is now at a special crossroads
By Aaron Chester
“As an American Jew, I moved to Israel to study the means by which we can transform hatred and division into human relations based on love and connection.”
United may appear in the name of our country, but the presidential election helped to expose how truly divided America is. Undoubtedly, it has exposed a tremendous rift in the American people and such animosity that we haven’t seen in an election in recent history. Whether it was a war of right vs. left or continuation vs. change, America has now spoken and elected Trump as our next president. Usually this is when the divisiveness of the election begins to come to a close and things go back to the normal Divided States, but not this time. Protests and violence have been widespread and there is no visible end to this rupture. The light may seem dim, but now that the root problem in America has been so clearly illustrated, we can move towards the solution. The problem is division and the answer is unity. America is now at a special crossroads, and if used correctly, it can serve as an example for the entire world.
“It may sound like fairy tale talk, but it is actually the basis of the people of Israel’s history and it is the method that the whole world needs so desperately today.”
Change is coming
The fact that a complete outsider could beat a career politician despite a media and political system that were against him says some pretty astonishing things. It says that all the progress we have as if made in America has brought us to somewhat of a dead end. Liberal, progressive values may be America’s agenda on paper, but the election shows us just how disillusioned and disregarded so many Americans feel after 8 years of Obama’s Presidency. Trump’s shocking victory is a sign that drastic change is demanded and can really be made. Since his victory, Trump has spoken a lot about uniting America and making it serve each and every one but how can he do it? As an American Jew, I moved to Israel to study the means by which we can transform hatred and division into human relations based on love and connection. It may sound like fairy tale talk, but it is actually the basis of the people of Israel’s history and it is the method that the whole world needs so desperately today. With such an intense divide awakened in America, the world’s most diverse nation, is in the perfect state to begin implementing such principles to bring positive change.
“We can induce such a change from the bottom up, just as this election has shown. The real answer is only together.”
It’s Up to Us
Presently, we have a media that profits on conflict and divisiveness, and an education system that cares primarily how to mold you into a worker. How do we rise above such external conditions that enforce everything besides unity and connection and re-teach ourselves how to care for one another? Certainly, having a government that fosters such a change from the top down will help, but we mustn’t wait on them. In fact we can induce such a change from the bottom up, just as this election has shown. The real answer is only together. If little by little, we begin to recognize the disease of separation that was exposed as of late, we are already on our way to the cure and becoming one united nation.
Roots of Unity
A group of ancient Babylonians discovered thousands of years ago under the guidance of Abraham that by yearning to transform our division and animosity into unity and familial connections, we actually will change human relations entirely and feel ourselves in a wonderful world. This small group grew into a nation that came to be known as Israel or the Jewish people (Jewish coming from the Hebrew word for united). For the last 2,000 years, since our exile from the land of Israel, we have not been fulfilling our role to the world. Nature is such that we are responsible for providing an example of unity to all of the nations of the world. Without doing so, the world will fall deeper into hatred, wars, and problems of all kinds. Nonetheless, every human being has the same potential and responsibility regardless of nationality. In truth, all of humanity today exists as those same Babylonians that began to hate one another thousands of years ago. Here in Israel, we are beginning this process of change, and amazing things are happening.
“Throughout the country, we conduct discussion circles and invite everyone to attend.The results are astounding, as you see complete strangers begin to speak to each other like life-long friends.”
Connection in Action
Throughout the country, we conduct discussion circles and invite everyone to attend. In these circles we aim to create feelings of warmth and mutual concern for one another as we discuss issues ranging from current events, to the purpose of life as a whole. The results are astounding, as you see complete strangers begin to speak to each other like life-long friends. I recently participated in one such discussion circle. It consisted of all Americans who moved recently to Israel, and we discussed the presidential election. We were half Trump supporters and half Hillary supporters. It started off heated, but we all agreed beforehand that the purpose of this discussion was to rise above all differences and opinions and come to some sort of common ground between us. As time progressed, this is exactly what manifested. We came to an understanding that we all want the same things, and although each one remained with his or her unique view on things, our eyes were opened to perspectives that we never thought we would understand. This discussion, which consisted of people from several different ethnic backgrounds, gave me a great deal of hope for the future of America.
“Our hope now is to begin providing such discussion circles and courses for all Americans.”
Our hope now is to begin providing such discussion circles and courses for all Americans. I also hope that American Jews and Gentiles alike will begin to feel themselves tied to this mission of uniting under the single principle of Love thy neighbor as thyself. All peoples appreciate this phrase, but now is the time that we must implement it. As this movement grows in Israel, my hope is that all Americans will begin striving towards connection and mutual concern as the remedy to all problems. I also hope that as a outsider of the failed system, Trump will stick to his promises of promoting unity and positive transformation on all levels. But in truth, it is up to each one of us to spark this integral change on a daily basis. From here, media and education can be transformed into facilitators of connection and love rather than conflict and hate. The power is in each of our hands to heal not only ourselves and our fellow Americans, but the entire world. Then, we will truly live up to our name of the United States of America.
“The power is in each of our hands to heal not only ourselves and our fellow Americans, but the entire world. Then, we will truly live up to our name of the United States of America.”