Coun­try must strive for unity

The Star Democrat - - OPINION - REPRINTED FROM THE DETROIT NEWS DISRIBUTED BY CRE­ATORS.COM

The po­lit­i­cal ten­sion around the coun­try reached a boil­ing point with Tues­day’s elec­tions. Neigh­bors, col­leagues, friends and even fam­ily have been torn apart over pol­i­tics. That kind of con­tempt for our fel­low Amer­i­cans is not healthy. Now that this con­tentious midterm is over, we urge ev­ery­one to em­brace ci­vil­ity.

That seems next to im­pos­si­ble when the rhetoric com­ing from po­lit­i­cal lead­ers on both sides of the aisle is so con­tentious.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump stirs the pot con­tin­u­ally, call­ing out those he dis­likes and mak­ing fun of his de­trac­tors. Yet even Trump, in a re­cent in­ter­view with Sin­clair Broad­cast Group, ad­mit­ted he re­gret­ted not hav­ing had a softer tone in his first two years in of­fice.

Democrats are hardly blame­less ei­ther. Dur­ing the cam­paign, lead­ers ral­lied their fol­low­ers with con­fronta­tional lan­guage.

The con­stant drum­beat of neg­a­tiv­ity is hav­ing real ef­fects on cit­i­zens.

A 2016 Pew Re­search Cen­ter poll found that par­ti­sans’ opin­ions of those in the other party were lower than they’d been in a quar­ter of a cen­tury. We imag­ine th­ese num­bers are even worse now.

Seventy per­cent of Democrats be­lieved that Repub­li­cans are more closed-minded than other Amer­i­cans. Repub­li­cans (52 per­cent) thought Democrats are closed-minded, and nearly half thought Democrats are lazy and dis­hon­est.

Even worse, the poll found that many cit­i­zens ac­tu­ally fear mem­bers of the op­pos­ing party. “More than half of Democrats (55 per­cent) say the Repub­li­can Party makes them ‘afraid,’ while 49 per­cent of Repub­li­cans say the same about the Demo­cratic Party,” ac­cord­ing to Pew.

Where to go from here? Even though the midterms are over, 2020 will now be­come the fo­cus, and it’s hard to imag­ine the com­ing months will be any less heated.

Some­times it’s help­ful to put things in per­spec­tive.

We were touched by the story of Utah mayor and Na­tional Guard of­fi­cer Brent Tay­lor, who was killed over the week­end while serv­ing in Afghanistan. Ma­jor Tay­lor was only 39, and he leaves be­hind a wife and seven young chil­dren.

But he also left a mes­sage that res­onates.

Tay­lor’s last Face­book post (dated Oct. 28) reads, “As the USA gets ready to vote in our own elec­tion, I hope ev­ery­one back home ex­er­cises their pre­cious right to vote. And that whether the Repub­li­cans or the Democrats win, that we all re­mem­ber that we have far more as Amer­i­cans that unites us than di­vides us. ‘United we stand, di­vided we fall.’ God Bless Amer­ica.”

We should all take that to heart.

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