The School Bell
Why are so few people able to sit down and compromise?
Grace Molinaro, Falls Church High School
From jingling bells on street corners to the flickering flames of Menorahs and Christmas wreaths, America has been swept with the holiday spirit. With it has arrived a wave of good feeling and brotherhood that has temporarily bonded communities together. A walk on the street has transformed into a round to greet friends and neighbors, and charities swell as they are joined by armies of helping hands infused with the giving spirit. But as the holiday season dies down, will the friendly cooperation and good cheer linger? Or will they be tucked away with the hot chocolate and stockings to lie in wait for another year?
We live in a deeply divided country. America developed as a mosaic of histories blending into one nation, resulting in a vast array of political and cultural differences serving as barriers between communities and people. In recent years, the bandage has been torn off these differences, exposing them to the open air to bleed. Anger has boiled over at the political and social landscape of our country from people of all schools of thought. Conversation amongst friends, family, and strangers has been likened to a minefield-- one misstep and someone will start bloviating about how the “idiots on the other side” have screwed up yet again.
Such an emotionally-charged climate has all sides, regardless of opinion or ideology, marveling: Why are so few people able to sit down and compromise?
The answer is that we are getting in our own way.
Cooperation is a simple yet complex skill. As the country grows more polarized, Americans are burrowing deeper into our own heads and opinions and refusing to budge. We are all so convinced that our specific way of thinking is the right one that little room is left for compromise. The few who are willing to be open to discussion feel trapped in the middle between extreme sides.
The holidays have offered a temporary reprise from these political, cultural, theological and ideological barriers. They have served as a reminder that certain aspects of life, such as family, charity, and brotherhood, transcend the importance of our differences. Our job is to continue to remind ourselves to keep an open mind, even as festivities fade.
Falls Church High School
7521 Jaguar Trail
Falls Church, VA 22044
(Students who reside on the north side of Annandale attend Falls Church High School)