It’s been awhile since we last spoke, since we went our separate ways. I remember thinking that unfriending you on Facebook was such a great idea; I wouldn’t have to see your posts that I disagreed with, and you wouldn’t see mine. We’d go our separate ways and be much happier, right? But now months have passed, and I feel like I’ve lost a friend. Honestly, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I jumped to just cutting you out instead of thinking about how we could mend this friendship. The last several months have been crazy, but someone just reminded me that we’re actually living in the most peaceful times in human history, so why doesn’t it feel that way? I was looking through old photos and ran into some of you and me — do you remember that time we snuck out late at night to go to the movies and see the new Batman? We thought we were so cool sitting in the very front row, being obnoxiously loud, and laughing at all of our hilarious inside jokes that wouldn’t even spring a chuckle out of a stranger. It was looking through those pictures that I began to think of you. We stopped talking because we thought “we’re just too different to be friends.” But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized, we’re really not that different at all.
The United States has always celebrated the differences in the opinions of its people. The “melting pot” of individuals who reside within our borders serve as a reminder that each one of us is different, and the government reflects those differences. With all of this attention on the United States right now and the tension between Democrats and Republicans, it would be easy to assume that we have nothing in common, but that’s just not true. Both of us consider ourselves patriots, both of us support helping nations in need, and both of us feel that more should be done to help the less fortunate in the United States.
Take the “travel ban” that there has been so much disagreement about recently, while you and I disagree on the implementation of a ban, when we look at the big picture, every member of the government and almost every citizen of the United States of America agrees that something must be done to stop terrorism and supports measures to help prevent attacks. Or what about the idea that taxpayers in the United States should help other countries in need? While initially I thought we disagreed on this, fundamentally, we don’t. Democrats and Republicans “both believe that taxpayers should provide funding to other countries around the world. The bipartisan Commission on Appropriations approved $40.1 billion in foreign aid for the 2013 year.” (Tyler)
Helping those in need is a concern that both of us have. While Democrats generally receive much of the press for attempting to find ways to ease the burden of the poor in the United States, and the Republicans are seen as the party of the wealthy, there are many Republicans who take poverty very seriously. In fact, Speaker Paul Ryan spearheads a Republican task force designed to come up with real and beneficial solutions to the issues facing needy families. The vision statement reads, “Vision: Strengthen America’s social safety net to better help those in need; improve education and training so more can succeed in today’s economy; help welfare recipients enter, re-enter, and remain in the workforce; and empower everyone to live their own American Dream” (Ryan). Obviously, Republicans know that there is a problem and are attempting to come up with workable solutions to solve them just as Democrats are. You see, while we may often disagree on the methods of trying to achieve common goals, we share the same goals, and any strides to do reach them are well warranted.
The United States has long billed itself as a country that accepts all people, regardless of religion, race or nationality. The Statue of Liberty stands as a beacon to the world that all people are welcome. While it is obvious that the United States has been a divided country for sometime now, perhaps it is not as divided as the citizens are led to believe. In a nation that constantly focuses on the differences between the Democrats and Republicans, it is sometimes easy to forget that we also share similarities as well. The love of country, the desire to assist other countries who need help, and the concern for those who do not have as much as others are all common themes which run through the backbone of both parties.
I know I got a little sidetracked there, but the long and the short message is, I miss you, and I think we can reconcile this friendship. I know it’s inevitable that we’ll have differences in opinion and get in some heated debates from time to time, but at the end of the day, we’re both human, we both call this country home, and we both just want the best for ourselves and our country. While we often think we disagree with each other, I think it’s important to zoom out and realize we really have the same concerns, and if we tried to work together more, we’d probably get a lot more done and with a lot less headache. I hope you’ll you re-friend me on Facebook, I really think we can make this work.
Your long-lost FB friend, Milan Kordestani
Originally published on HuffPost here.