The United States has always been a pluralistic society. The fact is implied in the name itself. We are separate states and yet somehow we are all united. Something holds us together. Something keeps us from ripping our heads off on a daily basis. It may be a simple idea that keeps us united. It might be something else entirely.
There are multiple businesses now that make their money telling you where you were from. Most of you are probably thinking I know exactly where I’m from. They won’t tell you the hospital you were born in. They’ll tell nations of origin that make up your ancestry. Such a proposition seems so uniquely American. The vast majority of the world know exactly where they come from because they’ve never really moved anywhere.
Germans have German ancestry. Japanese have Japanese ancestry. The British have British ancestry. You get the idea. Yet, there are isolated Americans that might have all three going on at the same time. Unity can be an elusive thing when we aren’t even unified with ourselves. I’ve never gotten one of those tests done, but according to tale I have Italian, German, Swedish, English, and Native American ancestry. One can’t even begin to describe the paradoxes there. Am I supposed to fight myself?
When you have a pluralistic society you are bound to have conflict. The fact that we don’t descend into chaos is a minor miracle every day. It just means we have to search harder for things that will unify us. We have a few cultural adaptations that peculiarly American. Maybe we can hold on to those.
If you hadn’t noticed, I am a pretty big baseball fan. If the name of the blog (which was two books) and the picture on the front weren’t the first clue then I guess you will just have to take my word for it. Yet, this year felt different for a lot of us. Some of us just didn’t get into the season like we used to. That was in part due to the collision between sports and the civil unrest. Some of that was due to our inability to attend games in person. Even watching on television without fans is a wholly different experience.
Yet, look out across Houston and you will see two unifying events that are bringing us together. First, the Texans fired Bill O’Brien. I’ve had Twitter feuds with people over politics and then turned around and virtually shared a beer over the Texans firing their coach. Republicans and Democrats, left and right, Jew and Gentile can all agree it was time for him to go. Whether you go to church on Sunday, or fight the lines at Costco, you are excited to see the Astros on the verge of advancing in the playoffs. Sure, it isn’t as exciting as it was in say 2017, but the excitement is building.
Humans are a social being. Even people that fancy themselves as loners have a small group of like-minded curmudgeons that they socialize with. We need some form of unity to keep us going. Sports seem to come to mind first and when thinking of it, it is easy to see why some people were so upset when athletes protested. We want to escape. It would be like Lucille Ball carrying a “Vote for Ike” sign in the middle of one of her episodes. Millions would be devastated not because she was an Ike fan (I have no way of knowing if she actually was) but because we wanted to watch “I Love Lucy” to escape from it all.
I’m at my best as a writer when I have a laser focus. That laser focus usually comes when something pisses me off. While that is all true, we can’t live our lives that way. We shouldn’t live our lives that way. We have to take a mental break for our own sanity. We also have to find some way to connect with other people that are different from us. Something must unify us. Whether it be following a team, a television show, or a hobby, we have to find that connection somewhere.