Whatever side you’re on, we all can agree on one thing: we’re splitting apart in the middle. And nothing can survive that’s torn through the center.
Yet, somehow, this knowledge is not enough for us to make it stop.
Quite the opposite actually. We’re aggressively and intentionally making it worse.
Imagine us in pairs, standing on a delicate tree limb 50 feet in the air, and, instead of reaching out to clasp hands and balance each other out, we’re swinging at each other with chainsaws.
When we miss our target, we cut the tree. And when we hit our target, we cut into the other’s flesh and release something so ugly and vile that neither of us can stand to see it. We get embarrassed, blame the other for what we’ve done, and swing harder next time.
All this anger, and we don’t know each other’s names.
We don’t know the sweet tender moments that happen throughout the day.
All we know is the battleground.
All we see is the chainsaw and the fight in each other’s eyes.
And if we weren’t blinded by this rage and the sun, if we weren’t distracted by merely trying to survive, we’d notice the double-armored, bulletproof, gold-crested space crafts zinging past us every once in a while, to check on the Progress of Things.
Though we can’t make out their faces through the tinted glass, we know these people. These are the same people who sneaked loudspeakers into our pockets and bedrooms, who quietly collect ‘likes’ and dollars and prayers from us in return for cleverly arranged language.
These are the ones who gave us all the shiny metal parts to build our chainsaws. (They didn’t have to give us instructions; the parts were so carefully crafted, we couldn’t build anything else.)
It’s nothing new: a centuries-old game in which the game creators are always the winners.
Divide and conquer.
Don’t look up, the faraway voices whisper to us. Look next to you. Look Right. Look Left. There’s your enemy.
And we advance, the weight of our weapons shaking the limb that we stand on, off balance from the start.
When will we learn?