By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman
I have been so depressed lately. No, fear not Gothamites, I am not suicidal (though if you are, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to get some help). You can look forward to my acerbic column to continue for many years. I am depressed because as we approach our great nation’s 244th birthday, we have become more divided than ever…especially in New York.
I blame politics, special interest groups and social media. Flat out. When I was growing up, Ronald Reagan was our President. And before you start, NO this is not a political statement or column. President Reagan always believed that no matter our differences, we are all Americans and that any argument or negotiation should start from that common thread. Where is that logic now?
Everyone is suffering from political and societal exhaustion. Forget COVID-19…this issue is going to end up killing us a lot faster. Between the Democrats and the Republicans, both sides are so blinded by their own ideology that they refuse to compromise. Perhaps if someone, ANYONE, came to the table and used President Reagan’s philosophy as a starting point, we could begin to close the divide that this country has suffered for over 15 years.
Maybe it is time for everyone to just take a step back and remind ourselves that we are all human. We all make mistakes (yours truly very much included in this sentiment). We all blindly follow our heroes and the public personas we love. And there is nothing wrong with that. But with everything that we are all enduring right now, isn’t it time for all men and women to set aside those mistakes, those passion points, differences, and remember that we are all Americans? In our case, we are all New Yorkers. We need to remember the lessons that history has tried to teach us…as an example, let’s get back to the comradery and love we all felt for each other post 9/11. It should not take a terrorist attack, global pandemic or other time of strife and uncertainty to bring us together. Just the reality that we all live in the greatest city, in the greatest country, on Earth. That should be a good starting point.
Yes, my fellow Gothamites, I am preaching unity. Enough with the lines in the sand. Enough with the great racial, gender and societal divide. All it is doing is padding the pockets of would-be politicians so that they can get re-elected. Isn’t it time we say “ENOUGH”?!?!? We need to remember that there is a reason why New York has always been considered the “Great Melting Pot” of our world. It is the one place on this planet where we have every nationality, every point of view and every religion. Rather than focusing on the differences, let’s take the spirit of President Reagan’s advice and start from “we are all New Yorkers” and come back together to restore our metropolis to its former glory.
As a third generation New Yorker, I will be the first to set aside ANY differences to begin bringing people back together…that is how you unite the races and genders. Through peace. Not through rioting, looting and political meandering. The next time you have a negative thought about your neighbor, that person working at Duane Reade or the person delivering your food, remember that they are just like you and I…they live in the greatest city on Earth. And THAT is how you begin to heal a fractured populous. Only together can we achieve greatness. Can’t we all just get along please?!?!?!