E pluribus unum
"Out of many - one" was adopted by our founders as that national motto. At the time, they were thinking of the diverse needs and interests of the various states converging into the collaborative effort of a nation.
It was a grand ideal. It was founded in the ideal of the power of collaborative effort - the ideal that the foundation of this country was a strength of common ground. There were certain "unalienable rights" that they could agree upon and draw strength in collective effort. While that great ideal was eloquently expressed in the bill of rights, it's reality has been a long struggle. The man who penned the words "all men are created equal" held slaves who were defined as less than equal to a white "man". And women were not considered equal at all - still are not.
We cannot comprehend the notion of "Out of many - one." We cannot accept the responsibility of it. We are one. We are tied to - connected to - every person and every thing around us. We are not separate from the prisoner or addicted - the poor - the rich - they are part of the one, out of many. When we cannot see that one - when we cannot connect ourselves in some way - when we cannot find common ground - we injure ourselves. "Out of Many - ONE." We are branches of the same tree. If you choose to cut off all the other branches, keeping just yours and one next to you - you will kill the tree. You will kill your own life blood.
"Out of many - one." That ONE is not complete without the many. Until we understand that, we will fall short and the tree will not flourish.