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As many, we must become one

Tom Boyd

Everywhere I go there is a political argument waiting to happen. Not a debate, not a discussion, but a harsh and divisive argument.People are making fools of themselves, and it’s time to put a stop to it.Here in the office it’s something I expect, as we try and keep lively political talk alive as part of the culture here, and every now and then it’s bound to deteriorate into mean quips and jokes.But when day is over things get worse. I went to the supermarket the other evening and was accosted by a woman (clutching celery with white-knuckled fervor) who couldn’t help but spout out a few chapters of anti-Bush rhetoric to me (in a conspiratorial tone, no less. She assumed, wrongly, that because I support Kerry I therefore must agree with everything he says).Then I went over to the Minturn County Club to watch the baseball game (go Red Sox! Down with the Yankees!). Try as I might to focus my attention on the mighty swing of David Ortiz, it proved difficult. A lighthearted comment about Iraq quickly turned into a slander-fest, and everybody jumped right past the intellectual debate portion of the evening and directly into the “you’re-a-psycho-nutbag” portion of the evening.When I visit other offices I notice the same kind of thing. Office by office, supermarket by supermarket, steakhouse by steakhouse, this nation has divided itself in two and the closer we get to the election, the more emotive the arguments become. Everyone around the nation is fighting. And, as our story on page 9 points out, the fights are getting brutal and dangerous.That’s why I want everybody reading this column to stop, take a breath, look around, and ease back on the throttle. I’m getting sick and tired of the one-liner platitudes of the Republican right, and equally sick of the sneering diatribes of the Democratic left.It’s embarrassing. Some of you need psychiatric help (Tipsline folks, I’m thinking of you): If you’re at the point where you can’t even listen to the other side’s points, where you nearly explode and see red whenever you hear legitimate arguments from the other side, then that’s a big hint that you yes, you have become a fanatic extremist. The fact is, neither side is as bad as you think.And here’s why: it is the people of the United States the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of this country that make this a nation to be proud of. The bonds that tie us together, the bonds of friendship, love, caring, living and working together are the bonds that lift us up to higher ground and hold us together through difficulty and hard times. The person we allow to be our leader should be honored to be graced with that position. It is by our will that he will be sent aloft into our highest office, and it is by virtue of our collective hard work that he will wield great power from his seat in that office.And while the President of the United States is a powerful man, no man is more powerful than a unified nation.Which is why we must come together and stand behind the man who is elected no matter who it is. We have to put our bickering aside. Once the decision is made (by electoral vote and/or by the Supreme Court, as it may be) then we must accept our man as president and back him all the way.No sore losers.No whining.No hard feelings.Because it will be us, not the president, who will decide if America has the strength that only comes from unity. Only if we are a nation of one mind will we have legitimate influence overseas and better security here at home. If we continue to be a divided nation then our diplomacy is more likely to falter and our troops more likely to hesitate.Debate and dialogue will always be a big part of who we are and what course we choose but the anger, violence and slander need to cease. Make your choice on Nov. 2 and then prepare for a more difficult task: unifying behind the winner and making peace with your neighbor. VTTom Boyd is interested in hearing what you think. Feel free to comment at tboyd@vailtrail.com


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