As Americans, we have a choice to reluctantly accept what comes our way, or choose to shape the future we want. Indeed, we plan our lives about our incomes, families, homes, retirement, and the future of our kids and our grandchildren. We also prepare our businesses to deal with the economic vagaries to sustain and grow.
One of the significant sources of conflict comes from our interactions with fellow countrymen, in our case, Americans. It is how we deal with each other and treat the otherness of the other that determines the future where we all can live a secure life with the least tensions.
Corona got dumped on us, and our culture of shaking hands, sitting next to each other in the meetings, and how we talk and eat has all changed. We have become more hygiene conscious, and that is good, reluctantly we are welcoming it.
Our Scientists and Doctors will find a cure to Corona, as they have discovered remedies for Plague, TB, Malaria, Polio, Sars, Ebola, Swine flu, Chicken flu, and other viruses.
When we face difficulties, we resort to blaming someone or the other, and take our frustrations on each other, and aggravate the situation further instead of finding solutions. We can do better than that, we are Americans, free and brave people.
We have led the world in every aspect of human progress from economics to medicine, automation to information technology, and set the world on the course of self-rule, which is the government of people by the people for the people. Now we have to apply our ingenuity in building cohesive societies.
At the Center for Pluralism, we are dedicated to building a cohesive America, an America where each one of us feels secure about our ethnicity, faith, culture, race, and other uniqueness. To accomplish that vision, we have several programs, events, and workshops to bring about the results.
Ten years from now, you will not find a place where you don’t see people of different faiths, races, cultures, and ethnicities interacting, working, studying, intermingling, playing, and even marrying each other. These new interactions are bound to create conflicts and pit one group of Americans against the other.
As responsible citizens, we have to prepare ourselves to prevent such conflicts so that each American can live securely with his or her faith, culture, gender, race, sexual, or political orientation, or ethnicity. New societal norms are emerging, and we have to deal with them.
We have witnessed the attitudes of some of our fellow Americans who have been here for more than two generations towards new Americans. It is not a phobia, but a natural feeling of fear of losing one’s way of life and resources. The racial conflicts and the supremacist feeling among a few are the products of the non-acceptance of the other. Then some of us are inflicted with the diseases of Anti-Semitism, Homophobia, Misogyny, Islamophobia, Hinduphobia, Xenophobia, and other phobias. How long will we let these diseases consume us and continue to give us tensions? We need to extricate ourselves and be free people again.
A vast majority of us have heard things about others from our friends, news, social media, or our knowledge of others, and we instantly form opinions about others. As responsible individuals, we must strive to strip stereotyping and build pathways to ensure the smooth functioning of our society, whether it is the workplace or our neighborhoods.
We have no shame in poisoning our kids and screwing their lives. Through our actions, our kids imbibe our prejudices towards others in general, particularly against women, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Blacks, Whites, Conservatives, Atheists, or Liberals. It must be painful for our children when they grow up and have to work with the very people whom they have learned to be lesser human than them, and they will have difficulty trusting them. First, the organization loses productivity when employees don’t work cohesively with others. Secondly, they bring those tensions at home. They cannot give 100% of themselves to work or their families and live a fuller life. It has to change.
We have to break away from our biases toward fellow humans to live a more vibrant and happier life.
We need to reassure each other, particularly the disconnected ones, that together as Americans, we are committed to safeguarding the American way of life. No American needs to worry about losing his or her way of life. Together as Americans, we uphold, protect, defend, and celebrate the values enshrined in our Constitution, a guarantor of the way of life for each one of us.
If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. We have programs to facilitate people to open up to each other. Knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance of each other.
The interfaith, inter-racial, and intercultural weddings are a superb example of creating one America, indeed, such weddings are very patriotic to build one nation under the blue sky. I admire all such couples who are telling the world, look, we are two different people with different upbringings, faiths and races, if we can accept each other and live in harmony, you can too.
In our annual flagship programs like Unity Day, Holocaust & Genocides, Thanksgiving and Festivals of Faith, Essence of Religions, and other programs, we have found fellow Americans walk out of the event with a lesser bias towards the other. The more we learn about each other face to face, the fewer the conflicts would be.
The Center for Pluralism will continue to bring non-stop actions in bringing Americans together from different faiths, political affiliations, societies, and cultures and be a catalyst for a safe and secure America for each one of us, as we move through this transition.
Nothing will change unless someone takes the initiative and makes a commitment to bring about the change. To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
At the Center for Pluralism, we are committed to building a cohesive America, an America where each one of us feels secure about our ethnicity, faith, culture, race, political and sexual orientation, and other uniqueness.
If your vision for America reflects these ideals, we invite you to study our home page and let us know if you are interested in joining us as a donor, volunteer, writer, or on our board. We hope to have every representation of Americans on our advisory board.
Please donate to America Together Foundation/ Center for Pluralism to achieve to work on building our future society. We are a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, your donations are tax-deductible.
Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. www.TheGhousediary.com