Tomorrow morning, half of the country is going to be furious. The other half, victorious. I don’t fit neatly into either half. Maybe you don’t either.
Maybe, like me, you’d rather see both sides of the political spectrum come together to actually solve real problems than the continued tearing at the fabric of national unity.
If we continue to dehumanize each other, assuming the worst of those we disagree with, questioning their patriotism because they don’t share our perspective, we’re setting ourselves up for disaster.
I understand that many of the differences that separate each side are deeply rooted in how they see the world, and please do no misunderstand me: I have unshakable convictions about this world and the next, and they do not align with either party.
And yet I voted today. I voted and hoped that we would learn to accept the results peacefully—I don’t expect happiness—and begin rebuilding our national unity.
Let’s learn to ignore the vitriol and rancor stirred up by demagogues who lack solutions and instead only offer insults and acrimony.
Instead, let’s listen to the words of a greater leader, who knew the value of unity and the danger of division.
From George Washington’s Farewell Address:
“The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.”
“For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.”
“In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.”