It’s funny how one question can change the course of your whole life. For us, that question came during the 2016 Presidential election. As we discussed our family’s future over dinner one evening, I asked Dave “If kids, mortgage and finances were not a factor, what would you wake up and want to do tomorrow?” Dave responded with an answer that surprised us both: “I would want to help bring unity to America.”
What would it take to bring unity to America?
Why is America coming apart at the seams?
There is no shortage of speculation, allegation and blame being cast on culprits and scapegoats alike for America’s mounting dissonance.
For us, this question became a critical one as we forged our mission to see an awakening of reconciliation and unity in America. We founded Undivided Nation with the hope that America is ready to explore the offenses that have driven us apart, and find the points of connection that link our stories and draw us back to one another.
After months of staring at the problem of division and finding no clear answer to its root cause, it became clear that the only way to find the answer would be to set out to all 50 states, talk to real Americans, and do something really profound…ask.
Over the course of 2018 our family of five did just that, selling everything to set out across the country on a year-long, 50-state journey to listen, learn and share the journey through our road trip blog.
James Baldwin wrote that a journey is called that “because you cannot know what you will discover on the journey, what you will do with what you find, or what you find will do to you.”
While we were asking what was causing division, our journey was revealing the answer to a much more profound question. It turns out, division itself is a symptom of an even deeper problem woven into the very fabric of American life. It is the question of human value. Particularly, who has it and who doesn’t.
What we inadvertently uncovered was nothing less than the lie upon which we too had been building our lives and livelihood, placing our bets on the belief that we could matter more than someone else in exchange for a place at the table of America’s false hierarchy of human value.
If unity is our goal, we first must acknowledge that division is not our disease, but rather the predominant symptom of the thing that has poisoned the hearts of generations of Americans since before our very founding: namely our belief in a flawed system of human value.
Our quest to uncover the offenses that have driven America apart led us straight to the beliefs hiding in our own hearts. To absolve ourselves of division, we must first absolve ourselves of our belief in a system that places the value of one human life over or under another.
A critical mass shift of this magnitude has never taken place in American society because it can neither be mandated nor legislated. It must spring up from a voluntary place within each and every human heart where bigotry, hate and fear have ruled over us, cloaked in the unassuming garments of progress and the American dream.
Our passion for unity and reconciliation has become a full-blown mission to expose and dismantle America’s false hierarchy as it exists in each of our own hearts, minds, communities, systems and beyond. We believe it is in the awakening of our collective senses to the reality of this hierarchy, that a transformation unlike any our nation has ever seen could emerge.