Let me explain. In the United States of America, we just elected a president. And by "we", I mean half of us. With near precision, 50% of votes were cast for one candidate, and 50% for the other. There was nearly an even split in the popular vote.
And so, there is something that matters even less than the candidate for whom we voted. What matters to me is the word "binary". The presidential vote illustrates we are a country that currently thinks in binary terms, that is: this/that, either/or thinking. Last night, as the map of the United States became decidedly red, it took on a deeply different look than it had eight years ago, when it became decidedly blue.
Our this transitioned to that. Or perhaps, our that has changed to this. Again, it doesn't matter whether the voters in my nation wanted to paint the country blue or red. What matters is that there is a pendulum that has swung from one side to another. And that's worth stopping to notice.
I want to point out to the world and to my country something Rabbi Ed Friedman, a family therapist, explained 20 years ago. Either/or thinking inhibits progress. Either/or thinking leaves us stuck. It will divide people into two stuck groups instead of uniting us into one group that moves forward.
Last night in my home, my boys, my husband and I prayed for our country and for whomever was about to be elected. My husband prayed for "e pluribus unum", which is a Latin phrase on American coins. He prayed for "one out of many". In its origin, this term was meant to create unity out of a country pieced together by many parts of the world.
If we remain many parts, deeply divided, there cannot be one out of many. Even if a wall is built, I think we need to be honest that it will not create "e pluribus unum".
In the end, World, as you watch this nation of mine, a place I am proud to live because I was privileged enough to cast a vote and state my opinion, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that perhaps this last pendulum swing might wake us up to the division in a way that would lead us to heal it. Maybe we would stop using social media and other mediums to strengthen our opinions, and start to dialogue. Maybe we would become fabulous listeners who really hear the hopes of our neighbor. Maybe the next election will be more about raising up nominees who are worth emulating...
Well, World, I just wanted you to know this post-election day has many people thinking.