Oh say can you see beyond your tribe?


By Daniel Salazar

The United States of America was built on inclusion, offering refuge to outcast people. Today, America’s principles founded in freedom are being constantly tested by a surge of tribal forms of nationalism far removed from our founders’ intent.

Since the 2016 election, United States citizens have been more keen to express through media and actions that we are a country divided.

In the presidential race for 2020, more and more Democrats are running each day. Some of these candidates might stand out such as Kamala Harris or Beto O’Rourke, but there is seemingly quite a few who seem to be lost in this sea of blue. One of the reasons is because many Democratic candidates share similar ideas. Both Harris and O’Rourke have acknowledged the Green New Deal and have said they support it.

Climate change is one of the top priorities on a lot of people’s agendas, so is the never- ending talk about guns.

At a dinner March 14 with Muscatine leaders, O’Rourke listened to MCC student and Guatemalan immigrant Claudia Artola shared concerns on guns and gun violence in America. She felt as though she had to prepare for a eventual school shooting. O’Rourke apologized that she had to feel fear coming to America and expressed his empathy and understanding.

Artola’s impression is that armed violence is as American as the stars and stripes.

Compromise and cohesion among Americans? Not quite.

It’s clear the country is divided. Yes, the Democrats have similar viewpoints that can ultimately unite them. But on the other side are conservatives eager to stick with their party. While there has always been a combination of ideas in America through history, we seemed to attempt to respect one another. However, since the Trump election, opposing ideas seem less respected.

This ideology of having to pick a side is a psychologically and physically unhealthy activity. According to psychologists David G. Myers and C. Nathan Dewall, authors of the textbook, “Exploring Psychology,” humans need to be with a group of people. Years ago, if you were not with a tribe you would die on your own.

Now those tribal tendencies seem to dictate philosophy.

Eventually, this idea of being either right or wrong transcends to the younger generation. They become blinded to the possibility of compromise and the realization that no one is always 100 percent right.

  Recently, the Mueller report shed some light on any Russian collusion between the President and Russia, something the Democrats assumed would be the end for Trump. To their dismay, Mueller did not conclude Trump was colluding with Russia, but did not at the same time exonerate him.While a win in the Republicans’ book, Democrats take solace in knowing that more investigations on Trump are still underway. However,  some Americans are dismayed the President is under investigation.

As a society we have created a black hole for ourselves. We have fallen back into a them-versus-us tribal mentality that our ancestors used for millennia.

As of now, the future looks grim. But it also looked grim in World War I, II and after 9/11. But even from that, America has been strong enough to pull its boot straps up and carry on. The only question now is, can we pull our boot straps up this time?