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More than just labels and unchecked boxes

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I find it very disturbing when people elected to take care of our country spend their time hurling insults at each other.

I also find it disturbing to hear my neighbors, and possibly even my friends, chanting a meaningless, but hateful, insult on national TV.

And equally disturbing to me is when someone in a position to help curb the vitriol, a man whose own wife could easily be assaulted with the same insult, merely shrugs and toddles on down the very narrow path he has chosen to follow.

Perhaps he, like so many others on both sides of the well-known aisle, chooses to avoid speaking out because of the heavy political price often exacted on those who do.

We are called the United States of America, but instead, we seem to be ever more divided, sorting ourselves out into smaller and smaller factions. We are required to check boxes that identify us by gender, race, religion, nationality, education, income, age and political party. We live in a blue state or a red state. We are labeled as urban or rural, conservative or liberal, and we are assigned a generational designation.

It seems that people born since 1996 are called Gen Z (or sometimes iGen or Centennials). The Millennials (or Gen Y) were born 1977-1995. Generation X was born between 1965 and 1976, and the well-known Baby Boomers arrived from 1946-1964. I wasn’t quite sure what I am, since I reject the label of elderly, until I looked it up and found that I am a Traditionalist or Silent Generation, born 1945 or before. Traditionalist? In many ways, yes; in others, no. Silent? Absolutely not.

But regardless of what boxes we check or what labels we wear, all of us here are Americans and we owe it to ourselves and to whatever letter or name might come after Z, to continue to uphold the values that have made us the strong, proud melting pot of cultures we are.

Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.