I was “invited” to write about issues we face. Gladly. But which ones? Extremism, white supremacy, racism? Culture wars, conspiracy theories, disinformation? Gun control, slaughter of children, power of NRA? Inflation, Ukraine, supply chain? Mental health, addiction, suicides? Women’s rights, equal pay, abortion? Education, book bans, CRT? Climate change, extreme weather, the environment? White nationalism, flag-waving jingoism, the Capitol assault? Homelessness, food insecurity, housing? Corruption, voter suppression, immorality? Dark money, corporations as people, the intrusion of religion into government? China, Russia, North Korea? Domestic terrorism, police reform, hate crimes? Congressional obstruction and paralysis, the politicization of the Supreme Court, “fake” and biased news? The ongoing pandemic, cost of drugs, medical debt crisis? The cost of gas, recession worries, the national mood? The pilot, nurse and teacher shortage? Authoritarianism, radicalism, the threats to democracy? The coarsening of culture? The rise of hate?
Overwhelming? Yes and ugh. But more important than all of these issues is the extreme polarization and partisanship in this country. Fighting each other is tearing the very fabric of our democracy apart. As Pogo said, “I have met the enemy and he is us.” We have to come together to solve these issues. We have to.
How do we heal the deep divide? I suggest: Place country over party. Vary your news sources. Think critically. Be curious. Reaffirm our nation’s values. Choose dignity and respect. Vote for people with a strong moral compass. Hold politicians accountable. Write civil letters. Be open-minded. Get to know your neighbors. Listen deeply. Create dialogue, not drama. Welcome “others” in. Remove mean bumper stickers and expletive laden slogans. Be kind. Travel if you can. Be generous and compassionate. Practice love, not hate.
Idealistic? Yes. But our founding fathers based our republic on idealism. We need to heal by coming together. My bumper sticker will read: Make America Whole Again. We must try, for our children and grandchildren.
Happy Fourth of July.