Seek common ground and avoid division
Appeals for unity sometimes come off as namby-pamby. Political differences sometimes require real struggle.
We know what we Americans, together, are capable of.
We see the unity, selflessness and compassion after every natural disaster — volunteers texting donations to displaced strangers; laborers jumping in trucks to ferry supplies to those in need, regardless of tribe.
We’ve witnessed it in historic sacrifices made when our nation or trusted allies have come under attack.
The greatness also flows in response to deplorable acts of violence and hate — most recently the massacre of Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Eleven people were fatally shot and six others, including four police officers, were injured by a man authorities said wanted “all Jews to die.”
Pittsburgh, a tough, tolerant, storied American city, rallied with interfaith remembrances. Muslims and Christians prayed, consoled and launched fundraising efforts that garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars for those affected.
City and state leaders, legendary sports franchises, media outlets and other community pillars presented a unified front.
There were tears and sadness, but also deadly serious, uncompromising expressions of the core values that make our great American experiment possible.
That is, the right to be free to be who we are, in thought, word and deed, because regardless of our many and deep differences, we share something essential — humanity.
As Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman of Erie’s Brith Sholom said in preparation for an interfaith observance, “an attack on one American is an attack on all of us. That’s the best our country is.”
We must find a way to abide in that mindset without being forced there by tragedy.
The poisonous spirit animating our politics degrades and dishonors the ties that bind this wildly diverse union — bonds we forged through great insight, will and also, bloodshed.
Political strategies that fan hate, division and fear have been deployed to great effect. We have seen it on the national stage and filtered down into local hearts and minds, exemplified in fevered letters to the editor that depict political opponents as murderers or traitors.
As we move forward from these midterms, we urge greater care, civility and respect from citizens and leaders alike.
Seek out differing viewpoints from outlets across the spectrum. If you hear something that seems tailor-made to inspire outrage, chances are it was. Factcheck it.
Appeals for unity sometimes come off as nambypamby. Political differences — at their core struggles over power and principle — sometimes require real struggle.
But embracing dehumanization, not persuasion or compromise, as a path to triumph carries too high a price.
It sullies our national character, corrodes relationships and, at its worst, legitimates violence against neighbors we are called on, as one sign displayed in Pittsburgh reminded us, to love without exception.
As we move forward from these midterms, we urge greater care, civility and respect from citizens and leaders alike. Seek out differing viewpoints from outlets across the spectrum. If you hear something that seems tailor-made to inspire outrage, chances are it was. Factcheck it.