“All gave some, some gave all.” Howard William Osterkamp, Korean War 1951-1953

 

On Monday, Johnson County along with the rest of America honored our fallen soldiers, Marines, airmen, Coast Guardsman and sailors who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this great country. It is a reminder of the price that all who serve in the military are willing to pay to ensure the freedoms we all hold dear. 

It should also serve as a reminder that we are all Americans, despite our different ethnicities, religions or political persuasions. 

In recent years, America has become more fractured along party lines. And that is not good for our country or our democracy.

Certainly, divergent opinions and healthy debate are essential elements of a strong democracy. However, when discussion of the issues devolves into personal attacks and demonizing the opposition, then the democratic process fails.

We have seen the damage this can do on a national level. Now it seems that even here in Johnson County we have fallen prey to the incivility that plagues our nation. Vicious and oftentimes personal attacks against people who volunteer their time to serve on civic and non-profit boards have sprung up on social media. This is disconcerting. As most of us learned on the playground, name calling has rarely made anything better, but it can certainly make things worse. 

We have lost some talented people due to the political rancor that has become more and more commonplace. Unless things change, it will become increasingly difficult to find quality people to serve on boards or to run for public office. And, in turn, we all suffer.

Countless brave men and women have died defending this great country of ours. They paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country and our way of life.

As we pay homage to these selfless brave men and women, let us also take time to reflect on civility. Let us remember that although we may disagree, most everyone has the best interests of our community and our nation at heart. Good people can disagree … and still be respectful of one another.

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