On November 1st, Starbucks released a new cup design which features 132 faces drawn with one continuous line. The design is artistic and impactful, and it carries a great message. The tagline “Be Good to Each Other” accompanied the official announcement of the design.
It says a lot about our country’s current state when we need a design on a little green cup to remind us to be kind, but it’s not entirely surprising given the events of this year.
At the time this is being written, the 2016 presidential election has not yet been decided, but that doesn’t change the fact that this year has been one of the most tumultuous in living memory, both politically and culturally. According to Starbucks, the purpose of these cups was to offer a reminder of “our unity and shared values”, something we desperately need as we round out this train wreck of a year.
Regardless of the results of the election, 2016 has been a big struggle for America. We’ve come face-to-face with lots of injustice and hurt that’s been lurking in the shadows of our society for decades. In some ways, we’ve been given a gift, a Dickensian look at what our future could be like if we don’t take action and just continue down our current path.
Has this year been terrible? Yes. There have been far too many lives lost and far too many spirits broken by systemic injustice and oppression. Has it been unpredictable? Absolutely, the Cubs won the World Series for crying out loud. But we as a country have been given an amazing opportunity, now that the problems within our society have been thrown into stark relief, we can begin to resolve them.
So how do we make that happen?
It begins with allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable with the events of this year, and listening to people we never have before. The only way to change is to take a step outside what we think we know.
So as this insane year comes to a close, don’t lose faith in America. Take the gifts you have and use them for the good of all. We can’t wish for the conflict to go away, we must lean in and embrace the discomfort in order to learn from each other and make 2017 better, no matter who is in the oval office.