Meghan Tschanz

love shines on

The Great American Eclipse and its power to unite.

 

The eclipse above Madras, Oregon. Aubrey Gemignani/NASA

On Monday, August 21st people across the United States of America donned their eclipse glasses to watch something that hadn’t happened to this scope since 1918.

Highways clogged with totality chasers, social media filled with pictures of it, and for the first time in a while, news stations reported on something that didn’t cause division.

For years, politics have divided our nation, ramping up steadily after the most recent election, and coming to climax after Charlottesville. Our nation was sadly split in those who supported the removal of Confederate memorials and those who opposed it.

It’s a big issue, and I’ve seen people argue it to death on social media and news stations. And somehow, it’s become a partisan issue.

Democrats and Republicans alike villainize each other, refusing to listen to any reason or logic the other must have. People have taken on the terms democrat and republican so fiercely that many don’t even think about issues anymore, they just support whatever their party supports.

And when there’s a disagreement about politics, people take it personally. The divide in our nation just seems to grow by the day.

People view the eclipse from the observatory at New York’s Rockefeller Center. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

But then on this past Monday, everyone looked to the skies, despite their political origin. We were moved by a force that was bigger than ourselves, perhaps it was divine intervention so we could stop hating each other for a few hours.

It reminds me of the Battle of Hayls, in 585 bc. Two groups had been at war for over 15 years and in the middle of a fierce battle when the sky darkened. Both sides laid down their arms to watch the total solar eclipse, and it was the battle that ended the war. Afterward, peace was sought and treaties negotiated.

Maybe it was that common awe and the smallness felt at such an event that made them realize there was more to them than what people group they belonged to.

They were human beings, united in the wonder of something larger than themselves.

After their wedding ceremony, Nathan Mauger and Connie Young toast to the eclipse in Spokane, Washington. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review/AP

This weekend Dustin and I went to a small town in the middle of nowhere South Carolina to watch the total eclipse. We had a corner of the lake to ourselves when people emerged from an adjacent trailer park donning dozens of Confederate flags, a symbol that I vehemently disagree with.

At first, I was annoyed. Their conversations carried across the lake, and there was part of me that judged them for the flags they flew. But as the eclipse drew closer an awe and wonder fell over us, and we were united in it. My annoyance slowly disappeared as we watched the cosmic event transpire before us.

When it was over, we had a friendly conversation about Nellie and the dogs they had. I felt closer to them after having shared an event that hushed us all.

We didn’t talk about politics, but I suppose after an event like that we would all be a lot more apt to listen. Who knows, it may have changed some perspectives on things.

I’m still basking in the afterglow of the eclipse, but how soon we turn to things that divide us.

I don’t think any of us wants to be hateful, but it happens when we fail to see our commonality. We’re all in this together.

Th eclipse did something few events can do, it brought us closer. May it remind us that we have far more things in common than our differences. May we seek to learn from one another by crossing the aisle.

May it remind us that we have far more things in common than our differences.

A crowd gathers in front of the iconic Hollywood sign to watch the eclipse at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Richard Vogel/AP

 

About Meghan Tschanz

I believe in love, empowerment. and adventure. The kind of love that believes in the face of adversity, the empowerment that allows people to step into their destiny, and the kind of adventure that leaves your heart pounding in your chest. I write because I want to remind us all that there is so much more to life.

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