Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The USA (01/08/09)
TITLE: Red, White and Blue
By Barb Hogan
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The most important part of the acronym USA is the word united. We are fifty very different states with fifty unique personalities, cultures, traditions and accents. I’m a proud Minnesotan and consider myself quite different from my Iowa neighbors. After all there’s a popular book called “How to speak Minnesotan” so we must be unique. Each state boasts its own idiosyncrasies. Yet somehow these fifty pseudo-nations all belong to one country. We’re united, or so the acronym implies.
At one time in history our unity was in grave jeopardy. We were embroiled in a Civil War, the North fought against the South because they wanted to secede from the union. The issue at stake was slavery. Also known as “The War Between the States”, it eventually ended and while we remained “united” the country was deeply wounded. The healing process was long and slow.
Our recent past suggests we are in a new “War Between the States”. It’s no longer North vs. South nor is it a Black/White issue. It is, however, about color, Red and Blue. Our recent presidential election raised partisanship to a new level. The U.S. map was covered with Red states and Blue states. A Red voter in a strong Blue state may not have felt his or her vote even counted. Reds and Blues didn’t seem to like each other much because they said the most terrible things about each other’s candidates. The battles raged for many, long fierce months before the election. The war didn’t hurt our beautiful land, because it wasn’t waged with tanks, soldiers or guns. There was no ground-assault. This was a new kind of war, one fought mainly in the air, the airwaves to be exact.
Primarily, the Red and Blue war was waged by our mainstream media and talk-radio. Comedians and celebrities often joined in the fray. Newspapers and magazines covered the war for those who didn’t tune in. Most Americans were innocently swept up in the conflict without really knowing how or why. The atmosphere of war grew stronger with each negative political ad. An ever-growing number of candidates’ skeletons, missteps and scandals were reported (true or untrue) by the media and were like guided missiles targeting division. The more I listened, the more I feared for our unity. One side was as bad as the other, both had shameful rhetoric and neither side listened to the other. In some ways our country was more divided than ever. Red vs. Blue pitted friend against friend, brother against brother, and co-worker against co-worker.
How can we fight this new war? First, we must really listen to one another. If you’re Blue, don’t see Red Staters as your enemies. Choose words carefully so as not to inflame a Blue Stater if you’re a Red. Remember, God is still in control no matter who our political leaders are. He is neither surprised nor perplexed by any election results.
Don’t assume you know the political color of those you love. I had a political conversation with my youngest son, a college Junior. I was shocked to realize we’re no longer the same color, one of us is Red and the other is Blue. Our talk didn’t go well at first, as we were both passionate. As things progressed however, I tried to listen without judging and found some of his points interesting and well thought out. Of course we still disagreed on many things but ultimately no harm came to our relationship. The love stayed strong. We remained a unit, mother and son. After all, real unity cannot exist outside of love.
This new “War Between the States” is not to be won or lost. It’s meant to be diffused and the best way to do that is with love. Jesus said in John 13:35(NIV), “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Lets be Christians who diffuse rather than divide no matter how strong our political ideologies may be. I want us to remain “The United States of America” so we can still be called the Red, White and Blue.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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