Waking up this morning to yesterday’s election results shows what we all know, that this is a country that is polarized, divided and fractured. The political divisions are significant because they are along race, class and ethnic lines, they are clearly socio-economic, and these differences must be bridged somehow if we are to become what we call euphemistically these United States. Red and blue should perhaps be changed to green and yellow, since white isn’t a color but the lack of same. Otherwise from some perspectives, the colors might be black and white. Let’s forget colors and find a way to put the divisions that separate us behind us so that we can find the common ground to move forward.
We endured an obscenely expensive campaign, some estimates just over 2 billion dollars spent, hundreds of thousands of ads that were negative, discouraging, and far more against rather than for anything. And the cost was not merely in dollars. There was also a price paid for human dignity. Now is the time to restore our faith in the principles on which this country was built and on which it can stand in the future – these self-evident truths, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We need a shift in attitudes and behaviors from negative to positive, from intentions to destroy to designs to create, from verbiage to constructive action. Too much rhetoric, too little reality, too much theater of the absurd, too little rational and logical action. It is time for a paradigm shift in many areas instead of continuing the same behaviors and expecting different results, the definition of insanity.
Etched in stone on the F.D.R. Memorial in Washington, D.C. are these words: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have too little.” That is true globally as well as nationally and locally. Perhaps we could come together around the most pressing priorities facing all of us and take constructive, creative and responsible actions to solve those most troublesome issues. Then we would be much more united and stand together, with bonds that strengthen rather than divisions that separate. Maybe and hopefully, the next four years will see a positive change in the will and ability to work together for the common good, not merely partisan interests. This is the message that each of us needs to send to those who represent us at every level.
In the meantime, we must take every opportunity we have to help heal the divisions that separate us, to share the visions that can unite us and to exert whatever influence we have to demonstrate that we can and will work toward a common purpose with common goals. All of this is for the commonwealth of our future that can be so much better than it is. If you believe that, today marks a new beginning for what lies ahead.