It is daunting to find values we cherish threatened, decorum disrupted by chaos, diplomacy displaced by bullying and power plays. How can we respond without fueling the fires of disharmony? How do we call out injustice, immorality and division without being ourselves divisive? We need less division, more unity. Less vitriol, more compassion. This goes for both parties.
Of course, differences of opinion and policy exist among the two major parties. The task of our politicians is to build unity in spite of — or possible because of — those differences. E Pluribus Unum _(_a Latin phrase meaning “out of many, one”) is stamped on our coins. It should be stamped on the hearts of every politician, and every citizen as well, regardless of party affiliation.
Our obligation as voters is to elect people who will unite and support the ideals of our nation. There will certainly be differences of opinion on how to resolve major issues — like health care, immigration, climate control and others. That has always been that case, and so it will continue. We have weathered those different approaches throughout generations — with the exception of the major calamity of the Civil War which rebuked racial injustice. That particular work is a constant in our lives today. We must be done with division. Done with incendiary diatribes. Done with an “us versus them” mentality.
Those attitudes erode our government and our souls.
We need creativity and innovation in solutions not grudges and word wars. We do not want war of any kind — with others or among ourselves. We want peace and policies, civility and diverse opinions. A healthy planet and sound resource planning. Adequate funding and sacrifice.
Lately our country behaves as though King Solomon’s sword threatens to divide the one beloved child.
This is not impossible. The adults among us know that, and know that seeking and building unity is essential as well as difficult.
What can we do?
We can register to vote if we haven’t already.
We can actually vote (and recall that the first woman to vote was a Utahn, back in 1870).
We can vote in candidates who fundamentally sow unity, not division.
We can vote out politicians who are so devoted to their party affiliations or personal prejudices that they hold our country hostage to win at all costs.
We can educate ourselves about which local and national candidates seek both peace and policies we admire. We can mentor our children and young adults about healthy civic engagement, about particular candidates and their demonstrated values, about the locations and open hours of polling places.
We can swallow pride.
We can amplify the voices of those who champion sound principles, reasonable policies and build bridges.
Longtime conservative commentator George F. Will recently said that he believes the recent fear-mongering, division and damage done to our civic discourse recently will likely have more lasting damage to the health of our nation than Richard Nixon's surreptitious burglaries of the 1970s did.
Humans are not just mortal beings. We are all daughters and sons of God and must arm ourselves with the impulses of the divine. I find hope and encouragement in these song lyrics: “His law is love, and His gospel is peace.”