How to Heal America?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I caught a Joe Biden ad on tv that spoke of “restoring the soul of America”. Micah asked what that meant and I did my best to answer but I’ve been thinking about that question a lot ever since that conversation. While I don’t have all of the answers, I do know one thing for certain – Joe Biden cannot restore the soul of America.

I mean zero disrespect to President-elect Biden but the task of restoring the soul of America is not a one man job just as the fault of division does not rest solely on the shoulders of President Trump. I am a firm believer that responsibility belongs to our leaders and while I do believe that President Trump has been a contributor of the division we see, the fault is not his own, we have played a role in it as well. While it is now up to President-elect Biden to contribute to our unity by spearheading those efforts, the job is not his. It is ours.

Just this last week, I have found myself reading (briefly) through the posts of people I know and I have come to this conclusion – division is dispersed in the shadows of social media engagement, for sure, but unity is created in the light of day by engaging our communities. We will never compose enough inspirational words on social media to unite us as Americans. The work of bringing forth unity starts with prayer and then sprouts hands and feet to serve our neighbors.

So how do you join in the work of restoring the soul of America?

Let’s start here:

  1. We have to stop allowing social media to be the place where we express political opinions, engage in political conversations, gather/share politically driven news articles.

This might sound funny from the girl who hardcore geeks out on politics but this goes for me too. I think there’s a time and place for such conversations but what I’m learning is that those instances are rare. Instead, if you enjoy talking politics and sharing articles and whatnot, send them privately to a friend or two that you enjoy engaging in these sort of conversations.

Let’s all practice asking the question, “How does this post promote unity?”

2. Get out of the echo chamber.

What does that mean? How do I do that?

Mixing up your news sources is a good first step. If you are politically more conservative, turn on CNN or MSNBC instead of FoxNews or vice versa. The beauty of being a critical thinker is that you can listen to something, even when it is biased and still be able to take away a new perspective.

On the flip side, maybe turn off cable news all together and go for more traditional print media sources. I personally prefer the New York Times. I have their app on my phone, I listen to their podcast The Daily each morning, and we receive a physical copy of their publication each day. I also enjoy the reporting out of Politico, AXIOS, and NPR. Consuming my news in this way has done wonders for my mental health surrounding our political climate.

Also, resist the urge of unfollowing those who disagree with you politically on social media – or rather joining another social media platform that caters to your political narrative. We will never have unity if we refuse to listen and respect political opinions that are different from our own.

3. We’re gonna have to get comfortable with accountability.

I believe one of hardest parts of this quest for unity will come in the form of the accountability that will be necessary both on the giving and receiving end. Brothers and sisters, when we as followers of Jesus are not being Christlike in our social media engagement, it hinders the spread of the gospel. If we are serious about the mission of God, we must be serious about holding each other accountable in word and deed.

4. Get out and get to know your neighbors.

We often see the signs in the yards of our neighbors in an election season and make assumptions about who they are based on the candidate they support. Assumptions do not promote unity but often its the opposite.

It’s in the conversations on the sidewalk and at our dinner tables that open our minds to the perspectives of others in our communities.

Get out there friends and do the good hard work of promoting unity within your community by better understanding the different political perspectives that each of our neighbors bring – and then use that perspective alongside your own to best advocate for the needs in your community.

I commend President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for their continued message of promoting unity in our country – because I think we can all agree that we need it. And while I believe it is the job of our leaders to spearhead that effort, the real work is done by us. And we have a lot of work to do, friends.

Let’s get to it.