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  • Writer's pictureJonathan David Cain

Is This the Moment for Unity?

Photo by Kalea Morgan on Unsplash

Unity….can we have it?.... Is this moment ripe for unity, or is it time to struggle?

This prompt is a difficult one. I have never seen the great ‘Us’ so divided. Yet, I have hope. We have been skillfully and deviously divided against one another across religious beliefs, gender, identity, sexual orientation, and, most assuredly, politics. In this environment, I’m not sure a universal unity can exist…nor should it. In my estimation, the great ‘we’ have splintered into so many ‘good’ and ‘bad’ factions that we have lost our way.

At one point, the singular vision of America was far more shared across many groups. Now it feels like we are driving at break-neck speed, with everyone fighting and grabbing for the steering wheel. So, can we be unified at this moment - No.

I’ll own that my personal beliefs about the dignity and value of each individual are being severely challenged right now. My beliefs put me squarely in opposition to some of the prevailing winds blowing across this country. I still believe in the dream of America. I still hope. I know it is one worth fighting for, and to do that is to draw a line in the sand and announce ‘No further.’ In the past few years as a country, we have endured a pandemic, fought over masks and vaccinations, leveled our aim at each other over the border and who deserves the opportunity to become a citizen, watched Roe v. Wade evaporate, came to blows over LGBTQ+ rights & gender identification, watched as history has been rewritten, books banned, and woefully watched as lies were passed off as right and folly praised… all the while damning the truth – each a singularly breathtaking event.  It has been a lot to just simply keep breathing through it all. I don’t know about everyone else, but my soul is tired from all of it.

So, how can we expect to have unity in this minefield of divisions where nobody is willing to simply stop and actively listen to one another or really hear an opposing viewpoint or have someone express themselves in a way that you may not understand? When did simple respect disappear into the fog of nationalism and conservative religious intolerance? It just feels like we are at the inflection point of ‘hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.’

Now is a time for line drawing, a time for organizing, and a time for pushback to begin the journey back to our true selves as a nation. In that effort, we must have unity. If we fail to unify, we will have to re-fight the Civil Rights movement, women’s equality, and all of the gains achieved by the LGBTQ+ community's inequality and visibility. I, for one, am not willing to just let the Fascists who have quietly maneuvered their way into positions of power force us into their vision of America. Take a breath, children. The fight for the soul of our country and our ability to be free in it has begun….again.


Jonathan Cain is a native of Florence, Alabama, and has been the current Curator for the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art in Tuscumbia, AL, since January 2020. He functioned in that role previously for several years before leaving to pursue a career in education. He holds an undergraduate degree in graphic design from the University of North Alabama and graduate degrees from the University of Mississippi (MFA – Sculpture) and the University of North Alabama (MA – Clinical Mental Health). He is an eclectic artist who likes to pursue many different media.

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