Let’s Unite America
When I was a kid I had a friend who always caused trouble for me. I would tell my mother “It was her idea” as a way of absolving myself of blame and she would say, “If your friend jumped off a bridge would you do it too?” From an early age, my parents tried to teach me to be accountable for my actions and not to follow someone else on a road that was only going to lead to problems.
I’m reminded of that story in the fallout of the bomb scare last month. Prominent figures like the Obamas, Clintons, CNN, Joe Biden, Robert De Niro and others were sent suspicious packages that contained pipe bombs. Luckily authorities found that the bombs were poorly made with most incapable of exploding. But that does not diminish the threat. Although no one has been harmed thus far, the incident undoubtedly raises questions about the sender’s ultimate intentions. One thing everyone “seems” to agree on is that the sender deliberately targeted left-wing public figures, some political and some celebrity Trump critics. This has inspired the blame game and has become another way to potentially weaken the presidency and, by extension, our country.
The truth of the matter is we shouldn’t be pointing fingers at which party is responsible for such terrible actions. We shouldn’t waste our time blaming the behavior of one specific, perhaps unbalanced person.
I prefer to ask a very uncomfortable question for some: Could it be that we are collectively responsible?
I’ve heard what sounds like “It was his idea” from various leaders in this country, which has given rise to everyone acting like nasty kids in a schoolyard. If Trump’s tone is offensive, then the best way to counteract that is to speak in an opposite, equally offensive manner. That’s the depth we’ve sunk to in politics and entertainment today. And at this point, I’m not interested in blaming anyone for starting it. It simply needs to stop.
The bomber’s actions are not about politics. And pointing fingers back and forth is not going to fix anything; it is only going to disappoint citizens even more. The truth of the matter is that we will continue to disagree politically and that will never end, nor should it. But both parties need to set an example—not react to bad behavior with more bad behavior–and promote peaceful negotiation and consideration for others’ opinions. Ronald Reagan had reasonable conversations with Tip O’Neil and Ted Kennedy. Bill Clinton did the same with Newt Gingrich. These were leaders with polar opposite views yet willing to be civil in their discourse. One can disagree with their politics, but not their dignity. Can our current political leaders return to civility?