Unity among the divide

It’s probably not surprising to some that there has been divisiveness around us. Within Santa Barbara County income, diversity, and crime has caused an economic divide, an ethnic divide, and a class divide. In a bigger sense those same issues discussed in the political arena have caused a divide within our country. 

We’ve become a people of heightened sensitivity, easily offended, quick to assume, and effortlessly aggravated. Incidentally, I blame the Internet, that grab bag of information, good, bad, and useless. Along with the fodder we stumble upon ourselves, agenda journalism stirs up the left side and riles the right with repetitive rhetoric spouted from the pretty little pie holes of major network journalists. Regardless of where it comes from, this country doesn’t seem too “United” at the moment. 

Even I’ve fallen prey to this sentiment. Recently I spotted what I thought was an offense to a patriotic symbol. I furiously flew into the house of the people I was visiting and asked if they knew why their neighbor would do such a thing. 

It turns out I was mistaken. It was actually a tribute to a relative who had passed away recently and his favorite football team. Though, arguably anyone not knowing that could’ve come to the same conclusion. 

Still I was wrong. It was supposed to be a touching tribute and I took it as a rude offense. 

I smoothed out my ruffles and felt sheepish. I felt stupid but it allowed me to recognize how divisive things have become, and how we all need to be cautious about falling into that way of thinking.

Of course, that’s a generalization because recently the Santa Maria and Orcutt communities showed what unity and support is all about. Lexi Brown, the 12-year-old who not only won the hearts of the community, but also the nation, finished her battle with cancer. She died recently while traveling home from France with her mother. 

Soon after, purple ribbons appeared tied around trees and lamp posts. People began to change their Facebook profile pictures to show support. Signs saying Fight Like a Girl, a slogan that represented Lexi’s battle, appeared everywhere. In short, the community that had come together to back her battle with numerous fundraisers and emotional support joined her family in celebrating her life and mourning her loss. 

I attended one of the fundraisers for Lexi, a St. Baldrick’s event that helped raise money for childhood cancer. I chatted with Lexi for a little while. And if you never met her, she was just as positive and happy as everyone said. Her positive energy demonstrated her strength, and she was committed to helping other kids sharing similar battles with cancer. Lexi captivated so many people that she got to meet celebrities, travel to major sporting events, and landed on the pages of national media, including People magazine.

I admit I teared up when I saw that local law enforcement had formed a motorcade to bring Lexi’s body home on Saturday. Way to go community!

It goes to show that within the noise of the world, there is always a source of peace and positivity. A ray of light that can unite people, whether it’s a small town, a large community, or even bigger than that.  

The Canary is feeling proud of her community. Reach her at [email protected].

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