There is nothing wrong with our country that we cannot fix … by fixing ourselves.
If we are on the left, we’re of the mind that those on the right are ruining our country. If we’re on the right, we believe those on the left are ruining it.
Why do I say this? How do I know this? By reading both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
In reading the organ of the left (The Times) and the one of the right (The Journal), one quickly comes to see that both sides genuinely love our country, and both sides feel that the other side is ruining it. Not only ruining it, but they willingly pursue policies that serve their particular interests, even if it harms the nation.
It is possible that both sides sincerely believe the other side is pursuing selfish interests and doesn’t love the country. That thinking is based upon a lack of understanding on both sides of the aisle. I'm convinced that the really hateful things I read would not be written if both sides knew the other as flesh and blood human beings.
That is not to say that there aren't significant issues which foster division, because there are. However, there have always been issues on which both citizens and politicians have vast differences, but we have generally been able to come to an understanding on most things while agreeing to disagree on others. In some large measure, we are unable to accomplish that currently.
Better understanding must start by not questioning the motives of the other side, and by giving them the benefit of the doubt, as difficult as that can sometimes be.
Take the Cape Issues group as an example. It is made up of liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and yet we all work together extremely well because we don’t get into politics at all.
It is not that we have to work to avoid politics, it simply doesn’t enter into our tasks. We talk things through and move on to the next issue. Seeing how well it works for us convinces me that we can get back to that in our country.
Let me be specific. In an April 23 N.Y. Times opinion column, Paul Krugman accuses the GOP of being prepared to back treasonous behavior, and further, of being “perfectly willing to sell out America if that’s what it takes to get tax cuts for the wealthy.” He accuses the GOP of appealing to racial animus, and of exploiting racial resentments to capture white working-class voters.
I've followed the GOP for years, and it’s been ages since I have seen that. Further, the quintessentially conservative and colossal Heritage Foundation now has as its president, Kay Coles James; she is an experienced, astute, and intellectual leader… and she is black. Under her leadership, on most issues, Heritage is a strong supporter of President Trump.
Does one example prove a case? Certainly not, but in my 72 years of living in our country, I have seen a sea-change in race relationships, and hopefully the day will come when racism is no more. But the fact that our country elected a black leader, and Kay Coles James is running Heritage, means significant change is indeed taking place.
We all know that we have the most wonderful nation on earth. Yes, we have spats, but we must never give up on ourselves, and let's remind ourselves regularly what that famous non-American, Winston Churchill, said of us: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.” Right now we are in the process of trying “everything else,” but let us never question that we will eventually “do the right thing.”