A creative writing essay I wrote while struggling with two family members battling cancer, during a time of divisiveness caused by the Covid pandemic.
There is a cancer of divisiveness growing inside our communities. It alters our healthy unity of purpose and attacks our reason and rationale. It divides our country by replacing compassion and concern with conceit and competition. It multiplies in the masses and grows out of control, all while believing it is benign and even righteous in its pursuits. This cancer crowds out the healthy conversations and cancels the collaboration needed to heal and return to proper function. It starts with labeling identities, grows into stereotyping, progresses to bigotry, and metastasizes as exclusion. Then at the end, when it is declared inoperable, it destroys everything we love.
We may not recognize it until it is too late. This cancer spreads virally by making people invisible by shifting our focus to ideals and principles and blinding us from the truth of our disease. The progression is obvious in everyday conversations, when ‘Us’ is replaced with ‘We and They’, and when ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ require explanation. This cancer grows whether in the whispers over wine or in the shouts of social media, it continues to mass and silence the healthy. It thrives in complexity, advances in fear, and becomes toxic with prideful politics.
For centuries, civilizations have died from the conflictive culture of divisiveness. Yet there still is no cure, only the possibility of remission and prevention. Remission can come with the suffering of chemotherapy done through censorship or civil war, or the pain of carving the masses from the tissue that binds us. Prevention can only come through the promise of people to have the courage to compromise, take action in authenticity, and find solace in selflessness. In an environment filled with empathy, the cancer of divisiveness cannot take hold.
This sickness surges in our isolation that deepens the despair. Our fight is silenced through the fears of cancelation as we pray for the courage not to choose a side. We find hope in new treatments, taking double doses of hating the hate and loving the love. The healthy parts of our body begin to rally together, we mute the media and raise our respect for one another. We have the right to reason, to find the facts, to tell the truth, and leave the lies. Our stance against the extremes of this cancer is the recognition of the reality that together we are the middle majority. The centrist champion with the power to raise our voices and end this divisive cancer that is destroying the lives we love.
If we fight this battle for unity and ring the bell of victory, we should live on with a renewed purpose and passion for the people we share life with every day. As the isolation from our sickness ends and unification begins, all must go back to the golden rules of making the most generous assumptions about the behaviors now behind us. Together let us build our shared future through connections of compassion, with delight for our diversity, and with recognition of the riches found in authentic relationships.