Newmann: It’s up to Americans to unite
The Great Debate is over and the message seems to be that, in the absence of strong leadership, the American people, themselves, will have to maintain a solid grasp on their fragile unity, keep calm and carry on.
With little (if any) measure of decorum, the “debate” featured a chief executive who spent the bulk of session monopolizing not only his own time — but also the time of his opponent. A high school debater would have shown more intelligence, class and dignity. The end result, on all fronts, did not bode well for the leadership we so desperately need.
In a time of uncertainty — with economic, environmental, social and medical issues at a flashpoint — the resolve of the citizens of this country to come together is imperative. The current divisions, as so aptly demonstrated in the proceedings of the other night, only serve to deepen the split in our social fabric and may ultimately lead us on a path that could have grave consequences.
Our country has a history of facing down external threats and overcoming internal divisiveness by eventually finding a unity and a strength of purpose, both of which define us as Americans. If ever there has been a time for unity and strength of purpose, it is now.
Some form of partisanship probably lives within all of us. But rabid partisanship does not have a time or a place in our current state of affairs. Robust and logical debate, hallmarks of our democracy, are vital and essential. And “robust” and “logical” are the two key words; they trump the “weak” and the “emotional.”
We all have our differences and those differences span a wide range. They can be philosophically complex — or as simple as our favorite sports teams. Our differences can — and do — define us and, certainly, no one wants to be a clone of the other guy.
But, at the end of the day, our heritage, our great democratic experiment, has always depended on our ability to eventually unite for the common good. And, if ever there was a time to unite, it is now.
Tom Newmann splits his time between Beaver Creek and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at email@example.com.
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