It’s the final day of November out in Staten Island, New York. Just another gloomy late Fall day in this town. For a second straight day, it’s raining and the temperature is actually a reasonable 56 degrees. Not too bad before the calendar changes tomorrow to December.
A week from Thursday is my birthday. We already made plans to go eat out at a real nice restaurant in downtown Brooklyn that I’ve been to before. I have fond memories of Henry’s End because it was back when our family was together. We used to go out to eat on special occasions in Brooklyn Heights. I can recall spending New Year’s there once with my Mom, Dad and brother. And the menu was superb. It really was a great way to bring in the New Year.
It’s hard to believe that that time in our lives was so long ago. To someone like me, the 90’s don’t seem that distant. But here we are two decades later with 2016 about to close its final chapter. I can’t even fathom that it’ll be 2017 in 32 days. Has it been that long since I graduated high school and attended college? Remarkably, yes.
I guess I’m just wowed that so much has changed. Maybe not for myself personally or for my brother. But just in terms of technology advancements. Back then, I was introduced to mobile phones. They were primarily used in the car for emergency situations. Now, you can do everything on your phone. I’m not so sure that’s been a positive development. Like many, I spend way too much time on mine. And while I do my fair share of reading and watch old videos, it’s not the same.
Perhaps it’s time for a change. Maybe to just go back to reading books and staying off my I-Phone as much as possible. And cut down on social media. Unfortunately, it’s become a place where opinions are shoved down others’ throats. Especially given the recent election. Never has a country been so divided. At the end of the day, what for? We are all Americans who are looking to better ourselves. No matter what side you’re on, it should be about treating each other with respect and not disrespecting differing opinions. There are far too many personal attacks and ridiculous labels that are so despicable, I can’t believe I knew some of these people. Indeed, it’s a sad time but one where we must come together as one.
There’s this distinct impression today that if you’re not with them, then you don’t belong here. That’s not the way it works. In America, we are allowed to have freedom of opinion, expression, etc. I may not like the same team as you. But that doesn’t make us enemies. It reminds me of your classic rivalries. I am a New Yorker who supports the Yankees and Rangers. The Yankees have one of the best rivalries with the Red Sox. New York and Boston go way back. As rival fans, it’s instilled to hate your opponent. Some fans take it too far. I’ve seen it in the stands at MSG during Rangers games when the Islanders visit. Too much alcohol or viatrol can cause serious problems. And what for? Because we root for different teams.
It really is the same thing in politics. If we’re on different fences, we shouldn’t be so consumed by it. There are too many circumstances these days where some get sucked in leading to more division. If you’re not with them, then you’re the enemy even if you are a nice educated person with common sense who is principled. Not everyone is “brainwashed” or “racist.”
Most of us have good upbringing and come from diverse families with different ethnic backgrounds. That includes race, color and religion. First and foremost, most of us are Americans who are citizens of this great country. We should be proud of that. Our country affords us more opportunities than most.
It’s time to come together as one and be united.