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Does America Have a New Blueprint?

Perhaps the greatest message I can construe surrounding this photo embeds the concept of unity. In truth, I have struggled with exactly what and how I can effectively communicate what happened yesterday when I walked into this newsstand. This is because it was the essence of desperation and the cry for harmony that have engulfed my emotions then and have consumed me since. In all honesty, it was an opportunity for wisdom awaiting me.

Zoom in. Zoom out.

This was how I felt as the elderly man on the other side of the counter painstakingly peered at the words on my shirt, America Needs Love. He quivered for a moment, befuddled. It was obvious he was searching for words.

There I was, ironic “Bad to the Bone” leash connected to my gentle Westie in my left palm, cell phone supporting my conversation in my right. Tunnel vision was unfolding and I slowly began to lower the cell from my ear, imminent something was about to unfold.

“Kara,” I insisted. “Hold on a minute,” with no logic that I’d soon drop the call.

“Polarization!” This real estate developer proclaimed. “That is why America Needs Love! We have become polarized as a nation and have forgotten who the hell we are and what we stand for!”

Beginning to doubt my own intentions, I deadlocked, apprehensive to react due to my concern of controversial backlash surrounding foreign and domestic policies, because through my floundering stance, I could hear his assertive proclamations.

Ohhh boy. I thought. What does a mad dash look like and I am up for it?

Truth in fact, I am far from adept to hold my own in a political exchange. Call me impartial, but let’s face it, anyone prancing around in the t-shirt I am wearing, or so I think, is more of a flower-power, let’s be happy type of gal. Nevertheless, there I am, on the receiving end of what has become a boisterous dialogue, and what’s worse is two vacationers from D.C. have joined in as bystanders. Indeed, I didn’t blame them.

My dogmatic pontiff endured, “This isn’t about who we voted for anymore. That’s yesterday’s talk! We are a nation fixated on tweets and reactions.” His gait was wobbly, but his backbone was mighty.

The couple from the northeast seemed quietly flabbergasted. I need to turn the tables, I thought. Exactly how was beyond me. Therefore, I did the only thing my frozen self could do. I listened in wait, and when the moment came that I could finally resurrect myself from fear, I acknowledged him, and as I deferred, he succumbed.

He didn’t acquiesce to his views. He shared his life and for me, that was reason enough for his righteousness.

After all, it wasn’t anger he was yearning to convey. It was dismay. It wasn’t contempt in his words. It was a clamor of grief and mourning for a country he felt no longer existed and wanted back so longingly.

“A pastime,” my now D.C. friends offered, “where we kept our votes private and we practiced respect for the leader of our country. We kept our opinions to ourselves,” they explained. “That is why America Needs Love,” they insisted.

I meandered home that afternoon, researching polarization and itching to make personal connections for myself and within the context of that day’s event. I envisioned pastimes throughout our nation’s evolution and a way of life so many of us never knew.

Why has this #AmericaNeedsLove campaign come about, I questioned? How can we intertwine the ideas and values of the past with our current reality and how might that bring everyone together in kinship?

Hmmm…I imagined, perhaps we are separated as a nation because we are lost in translation. We are no longer red or blue. We are the same. We all hunger for a similar America and regardless of how it is expressed, the memorandum we are emitting is congruent.

We are and will always be united, I convinced myself. It just looks kind of different. The manner in which America shows love will just have its own, unique blueprint.

Theresa Staley


"We are all here to make a difference, so let's do just that."

This blog is created to share my ideas and inspiration with fellow educators and our world.

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