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It seems like there's so much that divides us nowadays. So, how can we come together?

America is in a precarious time right now, a time when we see more conflict and division than peace. So, how do we unite in the midst of chaos?
Credit: Associated Press
Christina Pipkin, right, embraces Alex Briseno, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, at a makeshift memorial at the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. "It's hard to see it, it's heartbreaking," said Pipkin about visiting the memorial. (AP Photo/John Locher)

What an era in which we live. It's a time when, more and more, we seem to find less and less common ground.

When abortion laws are changed in states across the South, some see it as a step towards saving children and preserving traditional familial values. Others see it as five steps back from a woman's right to govern her own life.

When unarmed men are shot in their cars or killed in the streets without cause by police -- people such as Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner -- we either stress the importance of respecting officers or we assert the need for a system that holds law enforcement to a standard of absolute accountability.

And when mass shootings leave innocent people dead in Las Vegas, Orlando, and, most recently, Dayton and El Paso, we see calls for swift reform to gun laws or we drive home the fact that there's nothing we can do to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

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Whenever any controversial issue or situation arises, nowadays, we just plain-out argue. We're quick to say what's right and what's wrong.

We get on social media and comb through the comments under articles on our timelines. We post what we think are the most informed opinions. We place blame on who is responsible for the division we're facing, whether it's the media, President Trump, or former President Obama.

We call each other names: left-winged crybabies, right-winged deplorables, libtards, Trumpists, extremists, morons, idiots. The list goes on. 

We surround ourselves with like-minded people instead of working to broaden our horizons and trying to learn another's point of view. We retreat to our glass houses.

Sometimes we even adopt the notion that each "side" represents the most extreme elements of a particular ideology, that all liberals want to repeal the Second Amendment or that all conservatives condone racism, xenophobia, and the like. In all the discord, we forget a middle ground exists.

The strife and division that's swamped our country in recent years has brought us to a point where we don't know how to talk to each other, but only insult each other.

After the dust settles from one national hardship, we're on to the next. And with that next hardship comes the next argument saturating our social feeds.

It feels like a never-ending cycle, a continuous series of the same arguments over policy change and perpetual tragedy, a twilight zone where division reigns. 

It's enough to make you go mad.

But at the heart of our views, no matter who you voted for or what you support, all of us want change -- a profound change that prompts an exit from this chaotic time into one of peace. We're all wondering when that point will be. When will enough be enough?

It's true. Our elected leaders are responsible for encouraging moral, intelligent, and rational discourse. And media outlets play an indelible role in clear and effective communication, on politics or otherwise.

But change doesn't just start with policy or even arguing over the "right" solution. It starts with the little things.

It begins with our conversations, how we debate and the language we use, especially on social media. It's how to constructively address topics with which we take issue, instead of shaming others who have opposing views. It starts with how we treat others, even people who don't look like us, don't come from the same places we do or don't have the same backgrounds as us.

I know this piece doesn't put some huge controversial question to bed or unearths who or what is responsible for all the turmoil. But placing blame only goes so far, and as much as I wish I had all the answers, I don't. But if we truly want to come together as a nation, we should start by examining how we converse with each other on a daily basis.

And what I know is that it's not just up to the journalists, politicians, and influential public figures to further our society. It's on all of us. We're responsible for challenging each other to break down our walls and start building bridges. 

No matter your background, your views, socioeconomic status, religion, or color, I believe that we all want to see this country succeed. We want it to thrive. You are my countryman. And I am yours. Let's start treating each other like it.

Yasmeen Freightman is the social media manager for 13News Now. You can find her on Twitter at @Yas_Freight.