With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.            Abraham Lincoln

 

As this election season comes to an end, it is time to reflect. We were fortunate to have a good many people in our community run for election on local boards. Nearly every local election was contested. And, as opposed to the presidential election, our local elections focused on issues and ideas. 

We congratulate the winners and thank the challengers. It takes a servant’s heart to agree to serve on the city council, the county commission, the school board and the many other mostly volunteer boards and commissions. The pay is low. The commitment is great. We greatly appreciate your dedication to service.

Some have said the 2020 presidential election has been the most contentious in history. They would be wrong. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied. The election went to the House of Representatives where Alexander Hamilton, despite being a bitter enemy of Jefferson, turned the tide of the election  by lobbying his fellow Federalists to support Jefferson, because he felt Jefferson was a safer pick than Burr. 

Burr became vice president and three years later killed Hamilton in a duel.

Many have also claimed that no president has been treated more poorly than President Donald Trump. That too would be untrue. 

Four sitting presidents have been assassinated in our nation’s short history, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy.

Another two presidents suffered attempted assassinations: Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

We have become a more divided country in recent years. And we have also become more intolerant. We no longer have political discourse, but rather heated arguments that devolve into insults and name calling. 

Democrats are not our enemy. Republicans are not our enemy. We are all Americans. We need to place country before party. Our enemies are not within. They are the despots who would quelch freedom, who violate civil liberties and human rights, who hate democracy.

Democracy requires debate and discourse, and most importantly compromise. Only then can the best ideas bubble to the top.

It is our hope that after this election, no matter who is declared winner, that we can come together as a nation. Historically, our country’s greatest strengths come from our Constitution and the belief that we are all created equal. This grand experiment we call democracy calls on us to be champions of freedom, human rights, press freedom, civil rights, democracy and justice.

We need a return to civility and common courtesy. 

And we must heed Lincoln’s warning that “a nation divided cannot stand.”

 

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