My Turn: Let’s not allow ‘this land’ to become the Divided States

For the Monitor
Published: 6/10/2019 12:10:16 AM

‘This land is your land. This land is my land. From California, to the New York island. From the redwood forest, to the Gulf Stream waters. This land was made for you and me.”

On Sept. 11, 2001, my family stood on our house stoop, we lit candles and sang this song. The spirit of the United States helped Woody Guthrie write these beautiful lyrics.

We have deviated from this statement being true so far that it now outstrips our collective comprehension. We are no longer a United States of America. It breaks my heart but we all need to face this truth.

The civility and humanity that defined our country, and shaped our image worldwide, is eroding to a faint resemblance of what it used to be. As a country, we no longer embrace our differences, which comprised the “melting pot.” Instead we have chosen to let those differences define and divide us.

“As I went walking that ribbon of highway, I saw above me that endless skyway. I saw below me that golden valley. This land was made for you and me.”

This sad state of our country cannot be placed on one person, one political party or even one moment. We all share the blame, just as we all share this land. Only together, as a United States once again, can we combat and correct this deviation from our values as citizens of this country.

“I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps to the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts. And all around me a voice was sounding: This land was made for you and me”

The sad truth is, I don’t know if we can be united again. We have come so far from what made us a truly great country we may not be able to go back. We’ve done so by spurning our history, by forgetting about the Marines in the Pacific and Army in Europe, and by choosing to ignore those who desperately need our help. We are foundering in the backwash of this new world era. We are no longer leading. In fact, at its current pace, these may be the new lyrics of this beautiful song.

“This land is my land. It is not your land. I’ll stay in California, you stay on the New York island. I’ll cut down the redwood forest while you pollute the Gulf Stream waters. This land belongs to me, not you. This land belongs to me, not you.”

As a citizen, as a leader and as a human being in this country, I could not sit by idle and watch this division continue without recognizing what it will bring. If we continue to let our differences and disagreements separate the spirit of the United States then we will soon be living in the Divided States of America. As a citizen of this country, what will you do to stop this from happening?

(Paden Livingston lives in Bow.)

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