As learned in high school history, many of us are aware of the countries that are independent and communal in nature, and the differences those two words entail. We have learned that many regions around the world are quite different than the United States of America in that the culture is to share in hopes of benefiting the entirety of the people versus the individual.
Moving across the world and living in Fiji, I have not only witnessed, but experienced the vast cultural differences in a individualistic and communal country. For instance, the concept of sharing and the meaning that it holds at home and abroad. For myself, I grew up with three other siblings, whom I’ve shared almost everything with. I’ve shared ice cream, I’ve shared responsibilities, I’ve shared clothes, I’ve even shared the car. I’ve shared the majority of my life for Christ sake! I mean, right?
Serving as a Peace Corps in Fiji, I’ve experienced sharing in an entirely new way. Yes, siblings still share their clothes, food and household duties, but that’s not where it stops. These responsibilities carry over to family, friends, neighbors, and communities near or far. Food is shared whether rich or poor. Families take in and care for relatives from their brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles and raise them up as their own. In other words, the answer in Fiji is never found when thinking how can I move forward, but most often when asking how can we move forward together.
In light of the recent election, this is the question we have to ask ourselves as the people of the United States of America, “How can we move forward?”. What’s done is done. If we want to move forward, we must not only think of our brothers or sisters, we must think of our friends, neighbors, community and our country. If we are a country that prides ourselves on diversity, we must break the notion that “I” is the most important part, and understand that together we have to take a stand.