Even subtle cultural differences change how a country handles crisis.
On March 3rd, 2020, I left New York City to go spend three months in London with my longtime partner.
You likely recognize that date as shockingly close to when all hell broke loose around the world thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. As I was leaving NYC, there were already stirrings of unease surrounding a mysterious new virus that was making its way from China to the States, but very few people thought it would be anything but a passing inconvenience.
As it turned out, I likely already had the virus when I departed New York. I began running a fever the day I arrived in London. Still, I figured I had probably just caught a cold on the plane (this was before we knew what we know now, that the coronavirus was already extremely prevalent in NYC by March 3rd), and there was no way of knowing for sure, because tests were only available to people in the hospital with COVID symptoms. Soon, my partner also came down with symptoms.
As we recovered (we were both lucky to have relatively mild cases that lasted only a couple of days), we watched London slowly close down around us. First, theaters and public venues began to close, then office workers were told to stay home. Throughout it all, there was a reigning sense of calm and acceptance among the British people, even as the rest of the world began to panic.
The complaints I heard from British friends and acquaintances were never about the lockdown measures, but rather about the conservative government's hesitance to take more drastic steps and the lack of clarity surrounding what they expected the population to do to prevent the spread of the virus.
Still, I was struck by the difference in tone that I saw on my social media from American friends discussing the pandemic and the calm acceptance of the British people around me. Every post by an American discussing the pandemic used the word "I" over and over again and had a generally panicky tone. Meanwhile, the British were speaking with "we" and jokingly mourning their inability to grab a pint and watch football.
Sure, this composure was not true of every single citizen in the UK, just as panic was not every American's reaction, but there was a distinct difference in the responses I personally saw. In general, people who lived in London seemed quick to ask how they could help each other and their country, while many Americans seemed ready to batten down the hatches and take on an "every man for himself" attitude.
I was struck by this sign I saw outside a local corner shop in London:
Everywhere in London I saw examples of collectivism. While images were coming out of America of totally bare supermarket shelves thanks to people hoarding food and supplies to ensure their own comfort and safety, in London I watched two older women argue over who should take the last packet of chicken thighs. Both women insisted the other should have it.
Now that I'm back in the US, I haven't seen a thing like that in my local grocery stores, and while I know mutual aid networks are flourishing and neighbors are assisting each other in cities around the US, I've still been struck by our general lack of visible camaraderie.
It's no secret that the British government handled the COVID-19 crisis relatively poorly, but I was still struck by a sense of hard-fought unity I felt I shared with every average Londoner.
The British aren't an overly expressive people, but they're extraordinarily cordial. We Americans usually think of this kind of British decorum as a stuffy relic of the past that's only relevant in the event of an afternoon tea at Harrods, and perhaps that's partly true, but COVID-19 showed me just how deep this cordiality goes.
British decorum is not a form of politeness that's just about saying "Please" and "Thank you" or moving out of someone's way on the sidewalk; it's the kind of regard for your fellow man that makes it second nature to wait patiently in line if that makes a supermarket safer. It's an innate sense of obligation to each other that makes wearing a mask on public transportation an obvious and inarguably appropriate step to take during a deadly pandemic.
Sure, Brexit proves that nationalism is just as alive and well in England as it is in America, and in many ways Boris Johnson is a slightly less terrifying version of Donald Trump. But my time in Britain showed me that nothing can rid the British people of their ability to weather a storm as a united people, while I can't say the same of America.
On March 20th, Boris made the historic decision to close the pubs in the UK. For context, even during WWII, when London was being regularly bombed by the Germans, the pubs mostly remained open. This was the only time during my stay in London that I saw a collective outpouring of emotion.
I walked to my local pub out of curiosity that night (I had been two weeks without symptoms and told I was fine to leave the house), knowing that it would be closed indefinitely first thing the next morning. What I found was a sensibly socially distanced crowd of people laughing and singing and drinking together to mark the unthinkable day when the pubs would shut. Everyone was fast friends with their neighbor, and even the drunkest among us kept their distance and used hand sanitizer often. But there was a feeling of unity in the pub that night that I have never experienced in America. A sense that, as a people, Londoners would get through this by looking after one another in ways their government had nothing to do with.
Londoners survive; that's what they do. But the part of "keeping calm and carrying on" that doesn't fit as neatly on a poster is the additional impetus to help one's neighbors in big and small ways.
As we're forced to reckon with the failings of the American government during this time of political, social, and economic turmoil, I wonder if we should not also be looking at the pervasive sense of individualism that's so innate to our culture. I'm not even sure I fully recognized it until it became starkly obvious to me in contrast to a different culture.
Yes, the American government failed us in the way it handled the COVID-19 outbreak, but shouldn't we also interrogate our personal inability to care for each other without strict mandate from the government? Shouldn't we consider that true change can't come to America until we start taking personal responsibility for each other? Yes, we need to deconstruct the systems of oppression inherent in the American government that allow for widespread injustice. But we also need to ask ourselves everyday if we're asking the government to do the work that we aren't doing ourselves.
In the wise words of people who have been doing mutual aid work for generations: We keep us safe. It's time we take a page from Londoners' book and consider that politeness isn't just nice; it can also be an act of radical resistance.
Game of Thrones remains a guilty pleasure, despite the show's pathetic death with a whimper in Season 8. The great moments still serve as vignettes about human nature and the forces that drive people towards good, ill will, or mere survival. Some of those great moments share a particular phrase: "I wish you good fortune in the wars to come." There's an otherworldly aspect to that phrase. A character about to explode into violence or face his own doom wishing his enemy "good fortune" strikes me as honorable. It's a clear-eyed assessment of what destruction lay in store.
I fear that we now face our own game of thrones in America. What has been an awful year only looks worse as we descend into a foul mood in advance of the 2020 election. We stand on the brink of dangerous things and very dark times. I think of Spain in the 1930s. That civil war had antecedents comparable to our own situation: social divides along rigid dichotomies, including the rural versus urban, religion versus secularism, capitalism versus socialism, and law versus anarchy. At the end of the day, there were no "good guys," as mass killings of political enemies occurred on both sides. Prosperity and freedom were casualties, alongside hundreds of thousands of lives.
I actually doubt that such a quick devolution lies in store for us. Rather, I suspect we face a less dramatic and more prolonged devolution, unless we can resolve the philosophical–rather than political–gaps in our own society.
Were our differences only "political," we could understand each other. But we now find that the "political" has become the "philosophical."
In 2020 America we live in basic disagreement about the country itself. On the one hand, those subscribing to the philosophy of the 1619 Project and the BLM movement strongly believe that our country lives a racist lie. On the other hand, those subscribing to the philosophy of American exceptionalism strongly believe that our nation remains a city on the hill and a beacon of freedom for people everywhere. Objectively, we are a house divided, with little ability to compromise.
And now comes the election with high stakes of one basic philosophy crushing the other. Is it even possible to find peace?
At the very least,we can ratchet down the rhetoric. We can agree to refrain from language that demonizes the other side. Simple disagreement, particularly on a philosophical matter, does not require personal animus. But we talk in the most suspicious terms about the intentions of others. We talk about "voting as if our lives depend upon it," which wouldn't be the case if we all refrained from threats, lack of incivility, and actual violence. Demonizing "the other side" with demeaning language and threats only begs for retaliation. It's no wonder that people fear destruction.
We do not hold our politicians accountable for this situation, because those politicians encourage us to continue the cycle so they can ingratiate themselves with supporters
When confronted about civil unrest, politicians blame each other for irresponsible statements and dangerous escalations. They jockey for position as to "who started it" like children in the playground. But, in the end, they do not step back, and they do not de-escalate. Rather, they seem hellbent on inflaming things further in the pursuit of political power.
It's time we stop gamifying politics. Right now, each side sees a zero-sum game, such that one side has the chance to win at the others' total expense, based on how well democracy can be gamed by any means. We no longer trust each other, we no longer extend goodwill, and we no longer want to play by rules, unless those rules are certain to benefit us in the outcome. No one can even agree on the process of voting itself, with grave concerns over the mail-in voting process for 2020.
As de Maistre said, "Every nation gets the government it deserves." The chaos and dysfunction in our politics reflects the chaos and dysfunction in our own polity. We have to decide whether winning at all costs is really the goal. I urge us all to take it down a notch.
I urge us all to focus on processes that unite, as opposed to trying to set up rules that allow us to win. I urge us all to stop with the threats and to extend some good will to the other side. I urge more grace in victory and less malice in defeat.
Otherwise, I wish us good fortune in the wars to come.Margaret Caliente is a professional athlete turned internet entrepreneur and Manhattan-based journalist.
Maybe normalization needs to look less like glitter bombs and blasting "Born This Way," and more like simple acceptance, encouragement, and space to question.
In the wealthy Virginia community where I grew up, being gay wasn't seen as evil by most people.
Instead, it was seen as a subtler kind of wrong. It was disapproved of in the way that privileged liberal people tend to disapprove of things: passively and even compassionately. My parents believed that people were sometimes born gay and that while they wouldn't "wish that harder life" on their children, gay people were a fact of life and we owed them kindness.
Still, it was generally accepted that being straight was the norm. In high school, it wasn't uncommon to use "gay" as an insult or for girls to tease each other about being "lez." While many of us, if asked, would have said we supported gay marriage and loved The Ellen Show, being gay remained an undesirable affliction that felt altogether removed from our sheltered world.
Even more insidious, I was instilled with the belief—by my church in particular—that if gay and lesbian people could be straight, they would. But since they were simply incapable of attraction to the opposite sex, we should accept them as they were as an act of mercy. At the time, this kind of pity seemed progressive and noble.
Still, my church went against the decision of the larger Presbyterian church, and made the decision to exclude gay people from church leadership positions, as they were living in "unrepented sin." A person who admitted to being homosexual but thoroughly renounced the lifestyle and remained chaste? That was acceptable. We would love gay people, my church said, but we would ensure they knew we thought they were inherently evil and we wouldn't let them teach our children unless they promised to be good. As you can imagine, there were no openly gay people at my church.
My peers and I saw gayness as a clearly indicated predisposition with no gray areas. The LGBTQ+ community was a clearly defined group to pity and pray for. In my mind, gay men were easily spottable by their feminine clothes, manner of speech, and lack of interest in "masculine" things like sports or beer. Meanwhile, gay women had masculine bodies and features, short hair, wore flannels, and cargo shorts, and were brusque and unfeminine.
I believed that before someone came out as gay, they did everything in their power to "try to be straight" but were eventually forced to confront the difficult reality that they felt no attraction at all to the opposite sex. I viewed homosexuality not as a spectrum, but as a black and white predisposition that meant you were thoroughly, completely, and pitiably gay. Bisexuality was simply a phase for college girls, or a path to eventual gayness for boys.
So, what about me? In this environment of quiet suppression that often posed as progressivism, where did my identity fit in? The story is complicated by the fact that as a young child, I wore exclusively "boy clothes" and was mostly interested in "boy things." This "tomboy" phase went so far as to include the creation of an alter-ego I had named Fireball. When I was dressed as Fireball, I insisted on being referred to by he/him pronouns.
Later, I learned that my mother prayed often that, should I be gay, as she suspected, things wouldn't be too hard for me. Of course, now I recognize this gender exploration as separate from my sexuality, but at the time, gender presentation and sexuality were often conflated. They certainly were in my mind. I'm lucky that my parents took this in stride.
Around the time of Fireball's inception, I had begun to notice the way the other girls in my class could make me feel. I would light up at their attention or approval. Having a crush on a girl seemed like an impossibility, even an insult to the sacrosanct realm of girlhood, so that was never how I viewed those feelings. Instead, they became intense fixations on winning the friendship and devotion of the girl in question.
That's not to say I was entirely ignorant of my queer feelings. When watching movies or TV shows, I would often feel an uncomfortable sense of attraction towards the female characters on screen, though I didn't have the language to name it as such. When I was a bit older and was allowed to watch more adult programs, the feeling I got when I saw a naked female body filled me with shame.
As a result of all of these things combined, as a preteen I began to panic. I thought even the mere hint of these feelings must mean that I was irrevocably a lesbian. I thought my preference for "boy" things was a clear indicator of homosexuality. I would have to cut my hair, live the much more "difficult life" that I had been told over and over again gay people were subjected to, and I would have to stage an emotional "coming out" in which I would inevitably lose many friends. That was the script for gayness, but I didn't want to learn my lines.
I wanted to be popular, I wanted to be approved of, I wanted to be seen as beautiful, and I didn't want to be difficult. To me, being gay was the antithesis of these things. To me, discovering you were a lesbian was kind of like discovering you were going to have massive boils all over your body for the rest of your life. You didn't deserve to be blamed for it, but that didn't mean it was desirable, and it probably wouldn't help with making friends.
I never had to worry about being cast out of my family or put in prison. In that sense I recognize now that I grew up with immense privilege that many queer people around the world don't enjoy. For me, being gay was a question of how I saw myself in the context of the world. It had never been as simple in my mind as attraction or love; being gay came with a lifelong battle, a reinvention of the self, and a complete abandonment of the familiar and extremely heteronormative culture I had grown up in.
Perhaps as a result, at around 12-years-old, I started wearing "girl's clothes" more willingly and took interest in the boys in my class. In retrospect, this interest was largely competitive. Since other girls were taking interest in the boys, I felt I had to if I were to remain well-liked.
But some of the attraction I felt for the opposite sex was real. I had a long and meaningful crush on a boy in my class in the fourth grade, and around that same time I have vivid memories of watching Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time and experiencing warm feelings of attraction for Captain Jack Sparrow. His off-centered swagger, semi-androgynous appearance, and drunken lilt all appealed to me. And he was a man! I was attracted to a man! That must mean I'm not gay! How could I be?!
My Southern parents, bless their hearts, encouraged this crush (as they encouraged all of my phases and interests, being the remarkable parents they were and are) despite its strangeness, and my room was filled with Johnny Depp and Captain Jack paraphernalia for years. Realistically, the lasting power of my Captain Jack crush was not about the crush itself, but more about the relief this definite attraction to a man brought me.
Later on, as puberty continued, I found that sometimes I liked dressing in traditionally feminine clothes. This filled me with such joy and relief that shopping became a major pastime. I felt wrong in most clothes, so finding clothes that felt right but also looked enough like the other girls' clothes was of paramount importance. This often meant I wore strange combinations of Abercrombie tee's and boy's sweatpants, or oversized t-shirts and absurdly short shorts.
As time went on, the buried secret about my sexuality, and what I have now come to recognize as a somewhat fluid gender identity, became less and less pressing because I felt genuine attraction to people of "the opposite gender" fairly often. Besides, I liked looking pretty, desirable, and sometimes even feminine. I even had a healthy, loving, and sexual relationship with a high school boyfriend. This, to me, was the final confirmation I needed: I was straight! Definitely!
As absurd as it sounds, my desire to be pretty is what most thoroughly convinced me of my straightness. I genuinely believed–perhaps not logically, but intuitively–that if I were gay, the way I treated my appearance would indicate it in a manner outside of my control. As long as I was conventionally "pretty" in the way that women have always been pressured to be in order to attract men, then I was straight.
This is also about the same time that I became friends with a beautiful girl my own age. She was funny, popular, liked to talk about things besides boys, and had a sense of morality few of us did at the time. My friendship with her introduced me into a different group of friends. We often drank during our sleepovers, and this would usually result in sneaking out to meet up with other teenagers (usually boys) or playing Truth or Dare amongst ourselves. In the midst of these games, my friend and I often ended up kissing, sometimes for long periods of time. Squeals and giggles always ensued, and we would laugh it off as drunken antics. But the kisses stuck with me.
Even more affecting was the way the sleepovers always ended. My friend and I would leave the other girls to sleep on various couches and guest beds, while we shared her double bed. It felt good to be her favorite, and I took pride in the fact that the other girls sometimes seemed jealous of her treatment of me. I saw it as a mere extension of our intimate bond when these quiet moments in her bed would teeter between sexual and platonic. It didn't worry me: I was DEFINITELY straight. Even if I wasn't, I surely wasn't gay enough to make a big deal about it.
In college, a pattern began to emerge. I would be intimate with a girl, usually while drunk, and then I would brush it off with my friends. If someone casually described me as bisexual, I would blush and stammer and say something about how I hate labels and how I was "mostly straight."
Am I Gay Enough?
Despite attending an extremely LGBTQIA+ friendly and progressive university, I was only capable of celebrating the non-cis-hetero identities of others, never of myself. My feelings for other girls and my confused feelings about my gender were probably just my way of seeking attention, or wanting to be different, I told myself. Besides I knew I was often attracted to men, why even explore those other parts of myself? There was simply no need, I thought, because I could live a perfectly happy life as a straight woman.
In fact, I was lucky, because I wasn't so gay that I didn't have a choice but to come out. I wasn't so dysmorphic about my body that my lack of identification with my female designation was a real problem. I was comfortable enough in my identity as a cisgender, straight woman that my fluid gender identity and bisexuality didn't matter. Besides, the world had bigger problems.
That, I suppose, is the point of this essay. I share my own story of queerness with the hope of pointing out the subtleties contained within it. Often, we think that LGBTQIA+ people simply "know" they're different. But gender and sexuality are much more nuanced and fluid than that; and the more we begin to acknowledge that fluidity, the better off future generations will be.
We need to make space for questioning, we need to allow for exploration without immediate designation, and we need to stop acting as if being gay subsumes the rest of an individual's identity.
The question I'm trying to engage with, and have been trying to engage with for years now, is how much of sexuality is a choice? That is to say, how much of my expression of my sexuality is a conscious choice and how much of it is influenced by society's rigid misconceptions about sexuality?
The "born this way" and "not a choice" mantras that much of the LGBTQIA+ community espoused in the early 2000s most certainly had and still have their merits. Overcoming the cultural misconception (largely driven by the lingering puritanism at the heart of a lot of American morality) that everyone is really straight, and gay people are simply sexual deviants who need to be led back to the path of righteousness, was no small feat. The idea that gay people have no more choice over their sexual preferences than straight people do over theirs was an important, persuasive, and largely true rallying cry.
But what about people who do have a choice? And I don't mean "choice" in the sense that one day a person with no previous stirrings of attraction for the same sex can decide to try their hand at being gay for the hell of it. I mean the choice to engage with and nurture a part of yourself that you know is there, even if there's no urgency to expose it to the world.
If we continue to present homosexuality as this undeniable compulsion, how many queer kids will simply ignore their queerness because they don't think it's urgent enough to be valid? How many people who "present as straight" or masculine or feminine will remain in the closet because they don't see themselves in the archetypes of what gay or transgender/genderqueer people look like? How many people avoid the LGBTQIA+ community because they don't think their gray areas and uncertainties have a place there? I know I did.
Now, in my early twenties, having dated and fallen in love with both womxn and men, I still shy away from labels. "Bisexual" feels constricting, and "queer" often feels too vague. Meanwhile, older people within the LGBTQIA+ community have affectionately used words like "dyke" or "lesbian" to describe me, which doesn't feel right either–even if women-loving-women in their generation fought hard for those words. As for my gender identity, that's still something I'm exploring. But for the first time, that exploration doesn't feel like it needs an end date or a definite conclusion.
While these truths about myself were certainly not choices, it has been a conscious choice to nurture, explore, and talk about these facets of my identity. No, I'm not so exclusively gay that being with a man is undesirable to me, and I still often like to dress in traditionally feminine clothes and move through the world as a woman. Because of these things–and because of my whiteness–I am more privileged than many of the members of my LGBTQIA+ family, as I am decidedly less likely to face harassment or abuse.
In fact, it's a privilege to even have the mental and emotional time and space to engage with these questions. But I have also realized that the existence of my privilege is not an excuse to ignore or dismiss questions about my gender identity or queerness as inconsequential. When I pretended those questions didn't exist, I was making a choice out of my desire to avoid being difficult or too complicated, and to conform to heteronormative culture. And now my choice is to embrace and explore those identities and questions.
Not long ago, a friend of mine came out as gay to his parents. They responded positively with acceptance. Still, my friend's mother spent a lot of time "grieving" for the heterosexual life she had previously thought her son was going to lead and now never would. She grieved the biological grandchildren and the daughter-in-law she had felt she was owed.
While I by no means intend to invalidate her feelings or experience, I think it is worth noting how strongly this reaction speaks to the persistent kind of "compassionate distaste" directed at the LGBTQIA+ community–especially by the liberal elite. It's not that she wasn't willing to love and accept her son as a gay man, it's just that she likely had the same mind set I once did, that gayness was an entire identity. She was, in some sense, grieving the son she thought she knew who was now subsumed by this otherness. As time has gone on, I'm hopeful she has come to see that her son is the same man he was before she knew he was gay. She has likely realized that his sexuality and the gender of his chosen partner is, simply, not that big of a deal.
But what if, instead, her son had space to question and explore his sexuality as a teenager before concluding he was gay? What if he had felt free to go on that journey of exploration without thinking a gay experience labeled him as irrevocably gay? What if he didn't have to be sure before he said anything to the people he loved the most?
Clearly, being LGBTQIA+ is not an unfortunate, undeniable, black-and-white affliction as I once thought it was. It is a beautiful and often subtle facet of identity. For many people, it is a world of gray areas and changing feelings, but there is no such thing as "not being gay enough" to be a part of the community.
While I think it's important that we continue to celebrate all LGBTQIA+ identities as important and valid—particularly given how much of the world still wants to see them as abhorrent and unnatural—I also think it's important that we normalize these identities in a way that takes some of the pressure off of questioning young people. Maybe normalization needs to look less like glitter bombs and blasting "Born This Way," and more like simple acceptance, encouragement, and space to question.
I think that it's very likely that in a different time, I would have lived a relatively happy life as a straight, cis-gendered woman. I think I could have gone my whole life quietly attracted to other womxn, without saying anything to anyone or acting on those feelings in any way. But it is only in the past few years that I have begun to acknowledge that we don't owe the world the simplest, most easily digestible versions of ourselves. If we are going to transform society in the ways we need, from racial to gender equity, we owe the world the truest, and often most complicated, versions of ourselves.
We live in a divided nation—but there some things will always bind us together.
Very few people seem to be getting along in America right now. Countless relationships have ended, and families have broken apart because of political and ideological differences, which have only grown more extreme following the 2016 election. The divide between Democrats and Republicans, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, climate-change deniers and believers, and many more have become unfathomably vast.
Image via the Seattle Times
But amidst all the chaos, violence and noise, there are just some issues that are decidedly non-partisan; some topics that are so unanimously agreed on that for a moment, it almost seems like we're all only human. In a time of rage, here are the few points of commonality we have.
1. Robocalls Should Stop Forever
There are so many contentious issues being debated in Congress today—from the Green New Deal to bathrooms to anything even remotely connected to the president; it's safe to say that there are very few things everyone in the House and Senate agree upon. But recently, two bills were introduced in the spirit of stopping robocalls—those awful telemarketer messages that constantly interrupt our day with health insurance scams or calls from the Chinese consulate—forever. One is the proposal Stopping Bad Robocalls, from Senator Frank Pallone of New Jersey. The other is Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey's Telephone Robocall Criminal Abuse Enforcement and Deterrence Act. Both of these proposals will make it much harder for telemarketers to call and force their wills upon unsuspecting constituents. According to Markey, "If this bill can't pass, no bill can pass."
AI support centre Image via Ars Technica
2. Voting is Important
Now, though the issue of who to vote for is one of the easiest ways to turn an ordinary Thanksgiving dinner into a full-on screamfest, most Americans do agree that as citizens of this country, we are responsible for performing our civic duty and making our political opinions heard. Starting way back with the Founding Fathers, this has been an American ideal that nobody except for the staunchest anarchists or most apathetic among us is resistant to. Even so, only around 58.1% of America's voting-eligible population voted in 2016, although 67% of Americans believe that not voting is a huge problem, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. Maybe the disparity lies in the fact that the people who do not believe in voting also probably wouldn't be too likely to respond to a random political survey.
3. The News Is Fake
No matter where you prefer to get your news, most Americans agree that the media has serious issues—namely the abundance of falsified information plaguing and distorting everything from our elections to our dating lives. The issue isn't only a problem among journalists; politicians themselves are also widely distrusted, and for a good reason. In 2010, Senator Jim McMinn proclaimed that 94% of bills in Congress are passed without issue (it was found to be about 27.4%—although who knows if that statistic is true, though it did come from a Pulitzer-prize-winning political fact-checking organization). Since then, things have spiraled more and more out of control. There's no legitimate way to check how much fake news is out there, but according to one survey, most viewers were suspicious of 80% of the news they saw on social media and 60% of what they saw online overall. Though if you're like the majority of Americans, you won't be taking this article's word for it.
Image via Vox
4. We Should Have Healthcare
Although there is certainly not a clear consensus, most Americans do support healthcare for all. According to a 2018 poll, 6 out of 10 Americans believe that the government should provide healthcare for everyone; another survey from The Hill found that 70% of Americans support Medicare for all, and even a small majority of Republicans are in favor of the idea.
5. The Nation Is Divided
We can all agree on one thing: disagreeing. 81% of Americans believe that we are more divided than at any other time in our nation's history, according to Time. (Remember, there was this thing called the Civil War). Americans can't even agree on what exactly the nation's most significant points of disagreement are: most Democrats believe gun control is a huge issue while most Republicans consider it unimportant; same with climate change and income equality, according to surveys from the Pew Institute.
Although contention and chaos might be the laws of the day, at least we'll always have a shared hatred of telemarketers to bind us all together.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City.