This Time, There is No Unity

By Flora DiCara (Harvard College Undergraduate)

I distinctly remember one July evening when I was seven years old. As I slept, horrifying images crept into my head. I found myself in a dark tunnel, and I could hear the “drip, drip, drip,” of a leaky pipe. I began to feel spiders, my greatest fear at the time, crawling all over my body. Inch by inch I became increasingly overcome with fear. I let out a scream and abruptly opened my eyes, searching for a beacon of reality, anything to anchor myself to. But, the visions didn’t go away; they became worse. I was under siege; I forced my eyelids apart to try to launch myself back to reality, but that was ineffective. It wasn’t until my fear literally blinded me, and I ran straight into a wall, that the pain made the creatures disappear. 

Tuesday night, as I frantically refreshed my computer screen and red crept across the blank map like the blood of a fresh wound, I felt seven years old all over again. But this time there was no refuge, no moment of release, no breath of fresh air as I reached the surface after 18 months underwater. This time I was no longer a captive of my own body, but of this country, one that had left me flabbergasted beyond belief. Days ago, I was forced to reach the undeniable conclusion that nearly 50% of Americans do not uphold the values that we as a nation claim to represent. 

As I tried to fall asleep on Wednesday morning, I asked myself a lot of questions. I pondered life in ways that I never had before. As the sun crept in through my window I came to a startling realization; America did not become more hateful overnight. This election served as a barometer, as an objective way of measuring the bigotry and intolerance that I knew was present, but not to such a severe extent. I had faith in this country because I had faith in the electorate. I had confidence in numbers and common sense. I have always felt that the system was flawed, but I didn’t know that the margin of error could be so tangible.

In 2013, I was just mere miles from the Boston Marathon finish line when the bombs went off. I desperately searched for information, but the broken puzzle pieces just wouldn’t fit together. The unknown is daunting in ways that are hard to rival. Throughout all of the terror, chaos, and confusion, it was clear that we were all fighting the same fight, that we were all on the same side. This time, there is no unity; we can’t even agree on who the threat is.