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We Are They

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Mark Nepo

"We are at a basic crossroads between deepening the decency that comes from caring for each other and spreading the contagion of making anyone who is different an enemy."

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, six years after World War II, after the defeat of Hitler and fascism, six years after the Holocaust, in which some of my family perished. As a child, I was frightened by images of the atomic bomb’s obliteration of Hiroshima. In grade school, we practiced hiding under our desks, as if that would keep us from being incinerated. I came of age in the ’60s, part of a hopeful generation who questioned the war in Vietnam. I later saw the Berlin Wall come down, and, in time, witnessed the first African-American president sworn in on the steps of a White House built by slaves. During my lifetime, there has been a slow, steady awakening of community that has upheld America as the land of the free. Through all this, I have grown to understand that, different as we are in what we believe, there is no they. We are they. And so, I try to stay true to what I know while listening to the opposite views of others. Listening this way, I’ve come to see that the underpinnings of our current divisions as a nation fall below politics, below Democrat or Republican. Today, more and more citize …

This excerpt is from Mark’s book More Together Than Alone (Atria).


Mark Nepo moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. Beloved as a poet, teacher, and storyteller, Mark has been called "one of the finest spiritual guides of our time. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

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