January 15, 2021

2021 has already become one of the most politically complex years in U.S. history, and we are only beginning week three.

Although we have witnessed unprecedented stresses to modern democracy, our republic continues to weather the stormy seas of these trying times. Last week’s assault on the Capitol was a sobering reminder of how precious democracy is. The success of that democracy is held in mutual trust by we the people. That trust will flourish if, as a people, we acknowledge how our actions impact others and collectively embrace the best ideals of what our nation can be.

We are on an incomplete journey to create a more perfect union.

At a discussion I attended earlier this week led by national and state political experts, one of them said, “The problem with politics at this moment is that on both sides of the aisle, the one thing that is far more important than your cause winning is the other guy’s cause losing.”

There will always be differences of perspective, and there are fundamental truths of justice that must be the backbone of democracy, but effective governing is the product of perpetual compromise built on facts.

There remains cause for optimism:

  • Voter turnout in the November election included one of the highest percentages of eligible voters participating, and the highest percentage of U.S. citizens ever to vote in a national election.
  • In recent months, bipartisan efforts created COVID-relief funding of unprecedented scale for workers, families, and small businesses.

Still, we must learn all we can from recent events — as object lessons to strengthen our nation and our collective relationships to it.

Let us strive together to become the nation of Walt Whitman’s dreams:

America

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,

All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,

Strong, ample, fair enduring, capable, rich,

Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,

A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,

Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

Return to blog homepage