Sunday, February 4, 2018
Is it just me, or is it troubling to anyone else that there is an entire nation where "everyone" is doing the same activity at the same time? Perhaps it is something in the deepest roots of my Scottish heritage which demands that I swim against the current—and swim all the more determined, the lonelier it gets to head counter to the downstream flow.
Perhaps it is that the Super Bowl embodies the antithesis of the spirit of diversity in the fact that it's assumed that "everybody" will be watching the game—a nationally-dispersed tribe, unified solely by virtue of their electronic connection to a stadium in chilly Minnesota. Dare anyone say they are doing anything else at that magic hour? I wonder how much company I'll have, should I tap into any research website for family history. Or maybe how much of a crowd I'd encounter if I chose, instead, to shop at the mall at that precise time.
Envisioning a nation of so many million people, all—supposedly—doing the same thing at the same time, got me thinking. It might seem like a good thing that everyone could find something to unite over—while, oddly, in the subtext, fighting it out in a zero sum game like football—but I'm reconsidering that stance. Yes, it's wearying to now live in a place where, say, a political opinion not in line with the majority can earn hate mail, and unifying ourselves as a people—no matter how inconsequential the topic—might seem to be a refreshing relief. But I'm realizing something else as I consider this sidetrack from my usual topic: it's in a multitude of perspectives that we blend a balanced view of how things ought to be. The tribe mentality may foster a spirit detrimental to our advancement as a forward-thinking society.
When I look over the family history discoveries of those I know—in my local genealogical society, in the classes I attend on a regional or national basis, and even among the readers here at A Family Tapestry—I can easily see we have such varied backgrounds. Our diverse heritage as a nation, gathered from the four "corners" of the earth, may seem to be a patchwork, a crazy quilt, or a haphazard "accident" of history, but in reality, those many different strands of heritage combine to strengthen us as a people. It's in our coming together while simultaneously each being different that we gain the strength we need to face our future.
I've learned long ago that it's okay to be the one solitary soul not glued to the set when it's time for the Big Game. It's also no crime to hold an opinion different than others, to have interests divergent from the crowd, or come from a place far from the home of all the other neighbors. It's in our differences—once we reconcile ourselves to finding a way to weave them into the fabric of our society—that we can build a stronger foundation for our next generation.