Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
We are now engaged in one of the most contentious presidential election battles in US history. How it will end, NO ONE knows. Each side suspects the other side of nefarious dealings, especially since the initial ballot counts and victory declarations, so no matter who “wins,” this election will continue to be contested for a minimum of another four years.
But contrary to what the media is portraying as a nation divided, I believe we are, instead, a nation varied. Rather than Us and Them, we are a nation of Us, Us Also, and Us As Well. We are liberals and conservatives and moderates and don’t cares.
As Tom and I have driven across the United States these past five years, driving into and through much of the central and southern states, as well as along both coasts, we have been struck by four main insights: 1) how nice people are, 2) how most people just want to live their lives and not be dictated to by politics or PC, 3) there is as great a variety of opinion as there are people, and 4) a nation of 340 million people should NEVER be expected to be in lockstep. It is impossible to expect 340 million people to think alike, desire the same things, and agree on all policies. Even if they are forced to “believe” alike, as in communist China and North Korea now, and the USSR and Cuba in the past, it is never true. Somewhere, hidden, individuals maintain their unique thoughts, hopes, beliefs, and aspirations. Despite the state’s attempts to force conformity.
“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” MARCUS AURELIUS
Those are the words I strive to live by. I am better at the second part than the first. I have great self control. But, I do not suffer fools lightly, and I feel that our world is being run by fools right now, guided by fools, embraced by fools.
Still, despite our current travails, and despite not yet having a decision on our presidential election, I rejoice in our differences. I rejoice that 340 million people CANNOT AGREE on one candidate or one platform. Our nation, as we know it, would cease to exist the moment that happens.
We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us. WINSTON CHURCHILL
It is for this reason that I believe we must move politics out of our lives. We must be allowed to live as we each judge best for us, not live lives dictated by our elected officials who think they know better than we do what we need. I will choose to shape my own dwelling, and therein shape who I am and who I can become.
We are a people who believe in God, and we are a people who do not believe in God. We are a people who believe that all life is sacred, and we are a people who believe that the living decide which lives are sacred. We are a people who strive to succeed, and we are a people who look to government to support us. We are a people who marry, and we are a people who see no merit in marriage. We are a people who long for the good ol’ days, and we are a people who dismiss the past and look to the future. We are a people who know and value our history, and we are a people who do not know and therefore do not value our history. We are a people who trust the media, and we are a people who distrust the media. We are a people who thrive on social media, and we are a people who abhor social media.
And amid all of these diverse parties, there are those who are simply mixes of each of these traits.
I thank God for that, and I say, as the French declare, “Vive la différence!”
We must allow our differences to exist. Conformity in law is vital in civil society. Conformity of thought is deadly.
As we wait for the election debris to settle, maybe we can all accept the outcome, no matter what it is, and know that the people of the United States of America can coexist, can continue to be a beacon of hope to the world, can overcome and embrace our differences.
We can speak and act in unity, and still maintain our individuality, our uniqueness.
“We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
“It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate ~ we can not consecrate ~ we can not hallow ~ this ground. The brave men living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. … The world … can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us! That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.” ABRAHAM LINCOLN, GETTYSBURG ADDRESS