"How do we heal?" Those words were uttered by Amanda Timpane, the executive director of the Railroad Street Youth Project on Tuesday night following a screening of the documentary film, "Heroin: Cape Cod USA" at Berkshire Community College.
Timpane was referring to the opiod crisis in Berkshire County, which has devastated this community and shows no signs of letting up despite the efforts of legions of well-intentioned and dedicated local officials and residents.
But she could have been speaking about the world in general. How do we heal? How do we bring this country together again after the recent police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the retaliatory assassinations — no other word really describes it — of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge by misguided individuals who are allowed to legally purchase automatic rifles — weapons that were created solely for mass destruction — almost as easily as a pack of cigarettes?
How do we prevent all the shootings in Pittsfield?
How do we come together after this bruising presidential campaign, which still has four months to go? Who is going to heal the wounds in the Republican Party, which have clearly been on display at the party's convention in Cleveland this week.
Given the times that we live in, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that both major parties have chosen two of the most flawed candidates for president in the history of American politics. It's a reflection of a fractured, broken society that's going in several directions at once. Unlike countries with autocratic political traditions, our democratic processes, fashioned by the founding fathers like no other country in the world, gives the United States the potential to right itself, to find common ground in the ordered chaos that democracy is supposed to be.
In many instances, our country has lost its way. We've always had divisions in this country; that's what's supposed to occur in a democracy. But somehow in the past Americans have always come together for the common good. That's lacking now.
Judging from what's going on in the U.S., locally and nationally, our wounds are pretty deep. So, how do we heal? We need to somehow save our country from ourselves. That would be a start.