It’s time we became one country again

It’s time we became one country again


America has become one angry place. The melting pot has boiled over. The national interest is lost and impossible to find amidst the clamoring of special interests and endless accusations. Politics is awash in big money that is often anonymous and only self-interested; everyone suspects everyone’s motives; exaggeration is common; fear is controlling thought; respect for anyone or anything that disagrees with you is an antiquated notion; no one really listens; reflection and perspective are in short supply; the truth is twisted or totally disregarded; guns have become a religion and government, our democratically elected government, is seen by more and more people as the problem or worse — rigged against them.

We have become a nation steeped in class warfare, of increasing religious and ethnic bigotry, of disdain if not contempt for immigrants, of less compassion for those who yearn to breathe free and unwilling to see compromise as the mother’s milk of our democracy. If our Statue of Liberty could come to life, she would be crying. We have lost our way.

The anger in our country is understandable but ill-channeled. Turning against one another, blaming “them” for my discomfort and churning falsehoods to destroy others is not the answer.

The 21st century economy, with its internet infrastructure and global reach, has left many Americans behind. For too many of our fellow citizens, their skill sets have been replaced by technology or underbid by competition overseas or across our southern border.

Health care is too expensive for too many; pensions are disappearing from the American economy; retirement is code for working more years with part-time wages; the gold watch has been replaced with a too-early and too-meager severance package; corporate greed manufactures job insecurity; everyday life is too expensive; college education is too costly for too many and the middle class is disappearing. The gap between rich and poor in America has become a gulf. It is no wonder millions of people are angry and afraid. We don’t blame them.

But gridlock and impatience are not our friend, and as a nation we need to be smart enough to realize that finger-pointing and anger have never solved a single problem. Campaigns are important but governing is indispensable in our democracy. If we forget that, nothing else will matter.

It is way past time we became one country again, recognizing that dissenting voices need to be heard, respected and included in our nation’s plans. The clock is ticking. At some point, it will be too late. No one person or party has all the answers. Humility is not only good for the soul but essential if we are to make a place for everyone in our democracy.

We have so much work to do and so many challenges to meet. Consensus needs to be our goal and everyone needs a place at the table. We are Americans after all and need to keep the faith with all those brave souls resting in the hallowed lawns at Arlington National Cemetery who paid the ultimate price so we could continue on our journey to become “a more perfect union.” A house divided against itself will not long stand. 

Renee Plummer of Portsmouth is a lifelong Republican and John Broderick of Manchester is a lifelong Democrat. They are co-chairs of the organization NH No Labels.

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