According to AP Style, writers should use U.S., with a period between each letter, in the body of the story and US, no periods, in the headline when abbreviating the United States. This rule confounds anyone who hasn’t had to cram a clever phrase into a finite space when laying out a newspaper.
I get it. But, I also think it’s time for a change.
Let’s make 2021 all about US, with no periods, just we, the people, us.
Let’s move toward each other, recognizing all that unites us, rather than hovering fearfully in the divide. This past year has both humbled and empowered us in ways we could not have imagined. Both offer fertile ground for growth.
Let’s revel this year in our beautiful, imperfect humanity and allow ourselves the comfort of comprehensive community. Contrary to conventional observations, I believe 2020 underscored our commonality. We learned, for instance, that we share an intense fear of being caught without toilet paper, and a profound love of freedom.
We quickly and passionately defend our opinions, get cranky when we’re cooped up too long, reflexively smile at babies, enjoy deep belly laughs, marvel at rainbows and beautiful sunsets, and every now and then, we eat just a little too much.
We humans try very hard to do the right things and we still make mistakes. But, we’re good. We’re mostly really good, wave-them-into-traffic, pick-up-litter, put-the-grocery-cart-away kind of people. We are.
I think, in our fervor, we forget that sometimes. So, we dismiss outright people with whom we disagree. We define enemy so broadly that we cheat ourselves out of the kind of friendships built to withstand spirited debate. I think that’s a shame.
People align themselves with causes for deeply personal reasons. It behooves us all to listen to the whys even when we think we can not possibly comprehend the allegiance itself. The whys are the most important part of moving forward.
And, boy oh boy, do we need to move forward.
So, I say we remove the full stops from our coversations. We need fewer periods and more commas (even if they are Oxford).
With apologies to Dean Scotton and every other Journalism professor I ever had, I think we Americans need to make this the year of US.