Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2018

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Where I Stand:

Time to reconcile our two different worlds

“Two different worlds, we live in two different worlds.”

When Don Rondo made that song famous some 60 years ago, the United States was No. 1 in the world and a country that spoke with one mind on practically every major issue. Those “separating “ words were foreign to the mindset of a nation on the rise and the envy of the modern era.

Who could have thought that in 2018 the American people would have grown so far apart in their political, social and cultural thought that, at the very least, we would be living in two very different worlds? That we would be living two very different realities.

Today is Easter. It is a holy day celebrated by Christians all over the world, symbolizing the very best of man’s nature and an everlasting hope for better times. It even has an abundant supply of bunny rabbits and colored eggs to bring smiles to the faces of children across the planet. It is a good day.

On this wonderful Easter holiday and at this time in our nation’s life, we are faced with a situation that has forced Americans in every state to retreat to two very different places —one is a world which is concerned about a crazy, unchecked operative in the White House wielding the greatest power on Earth, and the other is a world in which a crazy, unchecked operative in the White House is not only celebrated but protected by many people dedicated to the tenets of faith and sworn to uphold both the Constitution and the dictates of decency.

And I, for one, am almost at a loss to explain how we bring those two different worlds back together.

While the Christian world is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Jewish world is celebrating the power of a loving God during this Passover holiday.

When Pharaoh refused to release the Jews from slavery, Moses delivered God’s punishment against the strongest ruler on Earth and a man who would not recognize that the power of faith trumped any temporal power Egypt’s leader thought he possessed. The Jews threw off their chains of slavery and moved their future to the Holy Land. Israel stands as a beacon for religious and personal freedom and exemplifies the achievement of people willing to stand against tyranny and oppression.

In the end, the stories of Easter and of Passover are very much the same. Belief in something greater than ourselves leads people toward a path of righteousness, peace and prosperity. Belief in our own supremacy often leads to a lesser fate.

And that brings us back to the different worlds in which Americans are living and the absolute necessity of bridging that gap.

For we cannot much longer live as one country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and, at the same time, act toward each other in ways that give a lie to that idea. We cannot stand for integrity and honor while our leaders continue to dishonor all that our forefathers and mothers strived so hard to create. And we cannot continue as a country to exalt opinion over fact to the detriment of the truth.

If we have learned anything during our 240 year history it has to be that a country that stands together will not fall and a country that works together will not fail.

Our history is replete with examples of people pulling themselves up and out of the dangerous places and thriving as a result: the freedom riders of the Civil Rights era; the suffragettes marching for the vote; and now, the Parkland, Fla., students rallying the conscience of America to the streets across our land to foster sanity around gun policy.

The story is the same. It is our world and it is not so different than the world our forbears faced when creating our little piece of heaven on this Earth.

But today we live in two different worlds in this country because it is easier than doing the hard work of coming together the way every generation of Americans have had to do before us.

We live in two different worlds in this country because we are lazy. We either refuse or don’t know how to fight for what is right, the way our parents and theirs fought every day of their lives to give us this country.

We live in two different worlds because we are frightened that the world we want is slipping away and we don’t have the tools to reverse that process or envision a better one.

The news each day continues to test us as a nation, a people and a system of government designed to let the people decide their own fate. There are no guarantees that this democracy will endure. Only the hope that we can try to make it better, make this union more perfect.

Yes, right now we live in two different worlds. But we don’t have to continue that way.

But, if we do continue to tear ourselves apart because we can’t find common and decent ground, then I must remind you of something else.

William Shakespeare may have been thinking of this time and place when he wrote “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” His fairy, Puck, in trying to explain the inexplicable behavior of man, proclaims to his king, “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”

Today isn’t just about celebrating Easter and Passover and the message of miracles and hope they exemplify.

Today just happens to be April 1, 2018. It has a different, more Puck-like connotation. And that creates the challenge of our times.

We can respond as Americans always have, or we can continue to play it as the fools we are fast becoming.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.