Picking Up the Pieces
Well, it’s that magical time again that comes every four years. People picking where they stand. Choosing sides. Slinging messages of insult and anger. And sadly, I’m not talking about the election itself. I’m referring to post election fallout. It seems that every time we reach this wonderful point in our country’s history the absolute worst in humanity never fails to emerge, and unfortunately this time more than most I can remember the venom is flowing like a river. And just as unfortunate is the bitter reality that this is probably the single worst way to approach the beginnings of our next era in history.
Regardless of where any of us stand on party lines or politics, one message has resounded clearly in the two days following the election – this nation needs solidarity, cooperation, and a new vision for optimism if we are going to work toward progress. While we hold firmly to our core beliefs and positions, there is a need to work in harmony with our brothers and sisters we differ from and work in the spirit of collaboration, putting behind us our vanity, our stubbornness, and our inflexibility and looking towards solutions, progress, and compromises where needed. Many of us see this, from people beholden to vastly differing political or moral compasses. However, many will not.
There are those that no matter what is said, done, or propositioned will forever cling to the “cut off my nose to spite my face” mentality. They are full of rage, anger, and at times blatant hatred and would just as soon let our nation burn in a fiery ball before they look to giving an inch in making our way towards harmony and progress. They see this as an opportunity to reject every leaning toward the offering of ways wherein we can find common ground and mutual understandings in lieu of finding a new fire for discourse and division.
Initially, it saddened me. I admit, it gets tiresome and you begin to lose faith in humanity a little bit. You begin to question whether we can ever be able to see America, though never in complete unequivocal agreement, able to find a means to remain a prosperous and industrious shining beacon for the world. Then, I have to step back and think about the fact that we’ve been here before.
Do you think Washington felt these thoughts? In his farewell address to the nation following his presidency, Washington warned us of the dangers that a party system of government would instigate and how the creation of factions within its borders could destroy it. Washington believed very strongly in the notion of nonpartisan politics and often spoke of patriotism being our higher calling and the need for us all to work together as one. A nation is such infancy was of course highly susceptible to division, but being the man of character and a hero to his people, he helped stitch the fabric to allow us to prosper.
What must President Lincoln have thought in his times spent alone as the nation he was charged with leading was categorically being divided before his very eyes? In his very words, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” Through arguably the most dire point in our nation’s history, Lincoln pulled us through and the nation endured.
But I ask one question…does the sole responsibility for keeping our nation whole and one people rest entirely on the shoulders of men such as Washington or Lincoln? I think not. Through the toughest of times and the darkest hours, it has always been the people who have endured. It has always been within us to lift up and push each other forward. It’s in this notion that I maintain my faith in humanity.
In the next days or weeks or likely years, we will continue to hear those that will choose to attack the fabric of this country and decide that the problems are far more superior to solutions. To those people I say you will have to do as you may. For the rest of us, we have our nation. We have our country. We have our people. We differ. We disagree. We debate vigorously and contest with passion. But under it all, we are one. We are strong with resolve that there is something better we believe we can be.
We also fight mightily for the beliefs we hold dear to us because we have earned our right to do just that. But today, I challenge ever person who calls this country home – seek to be a part of our solution, not another rock on the problem pile. Casting stones and attacking the moral fiber of people with whole we disagree does not seek to solve anything. It only breeds hatred and feeds further suffering for our nation. We do not always agree, nor will we ever much as we did in the earliest days of our country, but we will endure this and will do so by strengthening the people that believe in our country and empowering them to speak up against these people of hate and insist that we will not tolerate the hatred any longer. Working together is just that…work. It takes effort, it takes respect, it takes sacrifice, and it takes all of us digging deep within to pick up our brother and sisters and brush them off, not because we agree with them, but because we are a part of them.