Back to the issue of balance.

I am concerned for all the special interest groups I see these days.

For example, I personally am concerned about fracking, the Michigan wolf population, the cost of a college education vs. student loan debt, and kindness (or the lack thereof). I am also mildly interested in racial bias, gay marriage, and the state of our food system (in regards to what we eat).

Working in Ann Arbor, there is no end to the number of groups, from religious and racial awareness to squirrels. Yes, there is a squirrel group. I’m pretty sure it’s in name, only, but maybe they meet. I don’t know.

At any rate, anywhere you look these days, people want to direct you to their concerns. “Learn about this. Be aware of that. Sign this petition.”

This Fourth of July, or Independence Day, I celebrated in a corn field off M-32, headed into Johannesburg (MI), with a community of people I’d never met. We were unified by the 360 degree spectacle of exploding fireworks.

Less certain am I that we were unified by patriotism. This is not a highly celebrated group, where I come from and where I work.

Personally – and I don’t care to debate this – I think we are one nation under God (a creator, a higher power, a divine order). Let’s say, for the sake of this argument, that you and I can’t agree.

Can you agree that there is evil? That evil is at work? That, at the core of evil, it seeks to break down and to divide?

Consider “united we stand, divided we fall.”

These days, it feels to me that evil realizes all our special interests have caused a chasm. So many choices! For which do you stand? Really? Have you heard about mine?

I’ve read political columnists and editors that say that even within our government, the two parties used to be able to cross the aisle more, but now seem polar in their positions. I’ve had students tell me, “I’m not that patriotic.” Why would they be? How can you chose between two positions that cannot bend? And if you cannot bend, you break.

Evil’s goal is to break us down and apart. Alone, we are vulnerable and afraid.

In case you think I’m not for individual expression, consider that I am writing this blog and acknowledge that I am. This is deeper. It is being able to look in your neighbor’s eyes and say, “You are me. We are in this thing called living, together.”

I would like to think that there is room for all of us – a giant multi-colored fireworks display of fantastic proportions that represent the best we have to offer. Anymore, I just don’t feel that we’re one nation under.