Is this country falling apart? What about the world as a whole? Why has society developed in a way that division is easily accepted and unification seems like an afterthought?
These are a few of the questions that prompted The Houstonian to spend all of last week focusing on what unifies us. Our News can be unify our society, arts and entertainment can unify Our Lives, opinions can unify Our Voice and sports can be Our Fight.
Each of these sections of life has the potential to unify us as a nation, so why do they consistently divide us?
News is information, and information is power. Through the spread of news we can empower more citizens and rally around each other. We should be using information as a platform for unity, not a source of controversy and distrust as journalism seems to have fallen victim to in recent decades. There was a time when the media was considered the fourth branch of government—“the watchdog.” A feeling of integrity bound the media and the public, a bind that has since disintegrated.
Art and entertainment over the years has been designed to bring people together for pure enjoyment. Classical literature was intended to inform and entertain, the theatre originated as a sense of laissez-faire recreation. It seems this original intent of the arts has given way to competition and criticism.
Voicing your opinion should work towards unifying people, and not just those with the same thoughts as you. Opposing viewpoints don’t need to be divisive. Opinions on historically controversial topics like politics and religion have segregated this country—Republicans versus Democrats being a prime example. We are not saying that we expect everyone to agree on all matters; that actually should not be the case. Differing viewpoints are often what lead to progress, but opposing sides should conduct themselves in a constructive manner that does not look to tear others down.
Even sports has a juxtaposed history of either unifying entire cities or creating a riff of tension between fans. Fights have broken out, social media has fueled virtual trash talking and friendly rivalry takes a backseat to cutthroat competition. Hurricane Harvey was devastating to the Houston area last year, and while an entire city and most of the country united together through the destruction, select groups of people saw the event as ammunition for trash talking during sporting events.
The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers played a Major League Baseball game at a neutral site in Tampa Bay during the disaster, and Rangers’ fans were seen with signs that read “We’re going to hit Houston harder than Hurricane Harvey.” This was not an isolated incident. This can be seen across all sports and simply acts as a reminder that society is of the mind that division is easier than unification.
We at The Houstonian implore you to acknowledge the weaknesses that a divided country suffers. America is built on a strong foundation of freedom and unity, but recently society has experienced cracks in that structure.
The solution is within reach, we just need a unified front to make the first move.