“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
― Winston S. Churchill
“United we stand, divided we fall.” Aesop
“With malice toward none, with charity for all…let us bind up the nation’s wounds, and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves…” Abraham Lincoln
I wrote a post the day before the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump thinking Hillary would win. This is not exactly that post. Though those were the quotes I was using, and I still believe them.
I said in it I would post it Wednesday, today, regardless of the victor, but though I have edited it, and fear it will be more difficult with the candidate who won, my feelings are the same.
This has been the ugliest election I have ever witnessed and it has done damage to individuals and institutions from the Democratic National Committee, to the Republican Party, to the FBI. And now, America has chosen an angry isolationist who has made promises no man can keep. Maybe he will remove regulations and some mining jobs will return, but just as innovation led to assembly lines, technology has led to automation. Cheap labor will remain overseas. And the only jobs left in manufacturing will be for those who go out and get advanced technical training.
Backbreaking jobs may always exist but they won’t make the kind of money they used to. Even if that is what those who elected him think Trump meant. The world has moved on and looking backward will not change anything. But we do have to move on, and we have to find a way to move forward together.
Yet, I am not writing this to point fingers, to parse out words or faults, to endorse or defame any candidate. I am writing this to make the same plea I wanted to make two days ago.
Like the phoenix, please help America rise above the ashes of this election.
I guess the hows have slightly changed but basically remain. How can we do this:
- by encouraging the victor to reach out to the loser’s party…and by doing that ourselves.
- by choosing to no longer demonize either candidates or party.
- by accepting that there needs to be respect and attention to the losing party’s issues.
- by everyone acknowledging that the fight is over, but the governing remains.
- by understanding that governing means the opposite of to the victor goes the spoils – so that for the best outcomes, the winning party does not get everything they want, and the losing party gets some of what they desire (That has not been the GOP position when Obama was in office and they have opposed everything. I pray they will be magnanimous and the Democrats do not take on their attitude.)
- by choosing to work together to find fairness,
- by finding ways to address issues together through compromise
And America we have to hold our representatives to that standard. They work for us, the collective us, for our nation, for the best interests of our country which is best served when we work collaboratively, when we seek the common ground upon which we were founded.
We must resist polarization and not be controlled by it. By running to extremes, we may hold the other side in check, but all sides lose. It is only by meeting in the middle, by finding compromises, that there can be a win – win for all. And that is the way America has been governed except in the worst parts of our history.
I listened on Tuesday to the Diane Rehm’s show and heard them describe the country as being as divided as it was just before the Civil War. Tribal and racial politics and a tribal media are dividing us into a white America and a minority America, into differences by gender, by class, by race, by wealth, by country of origin (though other than native Americans all of us come from elsewhere), by rural versus urban dwellers, by education level, by older versus millennial concerns. And with those differences, have come grievances. But we are one America and we can one be strong if we do not let ourselves be divided, if we choose to stand up not just for self but for all. America, at heart, has always believed that we rise together. but we need to see that belief actualized with no one left behind. And we cannot insist that benefitting the rich always benefits the poor…it has been demonstrated time and again that it doesn’t.
What we need is for both sides to believe the country needs to be governed and the framers of our Constitution created a shared government that worked together – certainly with some checks and balances – but not a government that refuses to work, committed only to thwarting the other side or reversing anything its predecessor achieved,
My view is we need our president to heal these divides. That is an immense problem and even a Lincoln might have struggled if he had lived. Unfortunately, neither candidate was or is a Lincoln. We need one.
But WE are still the Land of Lincoln. WE are Americans first before we are Republicans or Democrats. WE are the people and if we insist that America works, it will.
What will that take? A commitment to LISTEN to each other. To hear the concerns that underlie the positions. To really attend to and value those needs. To find the ones that WE share. We clearly have some. We all want America to be strong. We all want America to remain a place of opportunity including for the blue-collar formerly middle class workers whose jobs in manufacturing, in mining, have been lost, and the struggling underclass. While we have always had “millionaires,” we have never had an oligarchy. We have always seen America as a land of opportunity…for everyone. WE need to make that true.
We need to listen to business concerns and make the American economy strong AND see that there are workers at the bottom who are still struggling though the economy and the Stock Market have returned to the pre-2008 levels. We need to solve health care for everyone. We are a nation of immigrants and we need to decide how we respond to the humanitarian refugee crisis while still keeping ourselves safe from terrorism. We also need to realize we are not the boss of the world, but that the world does rely on us. As John F. Kennedy quoted, “From those to whom much has been given, much is required.” [Luke 12] If we are going to remain great, we need to use that greatness for good.
We have to stop being EITHER OR and return to a BOTH AND concept of governing and loving in the world.
And VOTERS that can happen if we come together and if we insist Congress and the President come together, if we insist Gridlock is over and Democrats and Republicans can and must work together.
If you are reading this on Wednesday November 9th, or later, I ask you on this day to commit to America coming together again as One Nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all and insist whoever leads us at any time in our future, they lead us in that direction.