Sunday, April 4, 2010

What Unites Us is Greater than What Divides Us


There is a phrase that I think is important, but is overused and well on its way to becoming a cliché and that is: “What unites us is greater than what divides us!”  President John F. Kennedy used it in his 1961 address to Canadian Parliament: “Geography has made us neighbors.  History has made us friends.  Economics has made us partners.  And necessity has made us allies.  Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.  What unites us is far greater than what divides us."
The current US President, Barack Obama also used the idea in his speech this past Martin Luther King Junior Day: “through times of great challenge and great change, we have remembered that fundamental American truth - that what unites us is always more powerful than what divides us.”
But the idea is not strictly American, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon has recently used it in two different speeches.  First, in April of 2009, in his address to the Alliance of Civilizations forum in Istanbul, “What unites is so powerful it could easily overcome what divides us.”  Next, in November of 2009 in his speech to the Summit of Religious and Secular Leaders on Climate Change in London, “We are united by the belief that what unites us as human beings is stronger than what divides us.”  
What is it that unites us all?  Is it greater than what divides us?  What do YOU think?
Artwork by Cindy Hesse.  Many thanks.