Bucks County Herald

Camille Granito Mancuso: Chatterbox

The worlds we live in

There is much talk, every day, about America and all its woes.

That is our world … “our world” meaning the one, in which we live, en masse, right now, right here.

Within our common world, are many other worlds. They are, each one, specific to any given individual, within any given time frame. These specific worlds shape each of us, individually, and mold our specific opinions and perceptions. They are why we have division or unity, belligerence or tolerance, aggression or compassion, greed or generosity.

Our own specific world is all we know right from the start. We grow, and hopefully we learn that our world is not the only one on the planet. It’s a turning point, and obtaining that knowledge may create rage, crime, encouragement, accomplishment, impertinence or vanity. What it creates can't be predicted; it’s unique to every individual and his or her personal experience … and all these little, personal worlds revolve inside the one we have in common. They create a great test of character and tenacity, and force us to commit to serious choices.

Once, there was a woman whose arresting officer spoke to me. She lived in a world most of us never know. She had a childhood filled with physical violence. She walked out of two marriages. The first was to a man for whom physically beating her was just another day in the life. The second was to a man who treated her so well, she didn’t know how to handle such love. She supported herself through prostitution. She hated it, but she felt at home in the abusive state it created. That was her world – the “language” spoken at home … so to speak.

Most of us grow up not even realizing that our “language” spoken at home is not just unique, but it’s the one we are most comfortable with, forever. For some, it’s abuse. For others, it’s privilege. For still others it may be bigotry, entitlement, criminal activity, belligerence, opportunism, anger, or a lack of: morals; scruples; sense of fair play; or compassion. Every individual, in every nation, in every time frame, has only been able to perceive each moment singularly, resulting in the experience which formed his or her world. Also affected by our unique personality, it’s impossible for any to ever be exactly alike, even for identical twins raised together.

However, we Americans must remember that we are doubly unique. While every nation hosts the private, individual world of each of its people, their people share a predominant nationality. We, of course, host those same private worlds, but we also bring the uniqueness of numerous nationalities, or blends thereof, to the table.

The American nationality of multiple nationalities has always been our greatest strength. We acknowledged that our own heritage was part of the American quilt and, therefore, worked to embrace that in others. We are all different, all together, and have blended and bonded, united by pride through accomplishment and common hardship. We are a breed of Americans, and should defy separation as Americans unwilling to relinquish achievement or march backwards.

All different in the same way, we are now at our greatest risk ever – being fractured as a singular people. America is at a dangerous tipping point politically and socially. We are living in a time when anger, aggression, belligerence, division, bigotry, as well as feelings of entitlement, privilege, and overt prejudice, are becoming more prevalent. Far worse, they’re becoming more socially acceptable.

We are forgetting that none of us is allowed to subjugate anyone else or deem one person better than another. There is no superior breed here. This is America. We’re built on embracing all. To abandon that thought is to surrender as a nation; it’s a form of fear, hesitation and a cowardice Americans have never shown, ever, in the face of any intruder.

We must try to remember what we were aiming for, and that no one world can be exclusive, and no one person outranks any other simply because of the world they call home.

There is no place like home, there is only the one place we create together, where all worlds assimilate so, let’s live there and nurture inclusion. It’s what has kept us strong and, if we sacrifice that strength to any fear, we dally with the greatest risks of all – losing who we are, what we are, and what we worked to become … and, we risk becoming breakable.

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