Clearly, the American public is facing many issues right now. A corrosive political landscape has resulted in deep civic division that continues to be exacerbated through the biased lenses of the media. There are grievances on both sides, with each political tribe raging against the other and failing to adequately listen or reason sensibly. It is, by all accounts, a real mess.
But despite the nasty rhetoric, the party-political disunity and the lack of grace in the public sphere, most Americans are, by all accounts, pretty happy.
“Identity politics is overblown” writes Ryan Streeter at USA Today. “Seventy-five percent of Americans derive a sense of community from the city where they live, compared with 64 percent who cite their political ideology and 58 percent their ethnic identity. Identity politics has its limits.”
Indeed, beyond the vitriolic “national conversations” that seem to drown out our news cycle on a daily basis, average Americans are living pretty happily within their communities.
“Eight in 10 Americans rate their communities as good or excellent places to live,” Streeter notes. “Majorities — and often significant majorities — in every demographic category are satisfied with their communities.”
The routine of daily life, Streeter writes, is the true central tenet of many American lives. Contrary to popular belief, most people are not living out their days scanning social media for a fight to pick. Most people are just, well, living. And a lot are quite content doing so.
“We go to work, run errands, pick the kids up from school, hang out at the bar with friends and go to yoga classes and Bible studies,” he adds. “There is a lot of togetherness in America that we overlook while savaging each other on social media and shouting at the television.”
In addition, average Americans are experiencing a wonderful level of neighborliness.
“At least 74 percent of people in every racial, income and age group in America say those in their neighborhood get along fairly well or very well,” Streeter highlights. “Fifty-one percent of Americans talk to their neighbors at least a few times a week. Only 37 percent report helping neighbors with something a few times a month or more, but 75 percent say they live in a community in which people are willing to help out if needed.”
What a great reminder for us in a time of such unprecedented political division. May we seek to help and love our neighbors, and prefer other people to ourselves. There’s no doubt that if we continue to do this, and remain full of faith and kindness, we will combat the division that threatens to pull this country down.