My Year With One America

By Areesa Somani

 

Last month marked my one-year anniversary with The One America Movement. And reflections on complexity are on my mind.

I traveled across Oklahoma, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Charlottesville this past year. I’ve learned a lot. But above all, I’ve learned that it’s much easier to conceive of your enemy as a caricature than to be forced to grapple with their complexity.

The neuroscientists and peacebuilders I work with teach us that as a species, we gather in groups to survive. We fought warring tribes, then and now. We naturally put others into boxes. We hate complexity. And that’s why work that humanizes is important.

I’m really proud to be doing work that pushes the needle forward. Because in the process, that work pushes me forward too. Every day I’m forced to question my deepest-held truths and the universality of my experiences. Every day I learn something new about Americans and about myself.

I’ve learned about people. The faithful Democrats. The faithful Republicans. The single-issue voters. The activists. The evangelicals. The disengaged. The frustrated. The angry. The hopeful.

The more righteous we get, the more mistakes we make. I make my share every day. But because of this work, I’m constantly falling and rising in my approaches. And most importantly, my heart is constantly changing.

Isn’t that the point of all of this?

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