Let’s not think only of who should win the election, but who we will be after the results.
Someone described America’s current condition as a “Cold Civil War.” We are warring political tribes. We live among each other in every state and county, every town and neighborhood. Even in the same household.
I personally fear for our democracy and that violence could erupt after the election, no matter who wins. If violence happens, we will all lose. America will lose, no matter who wins.
Perhaps the only thing on which we can – hopefully – find common ground is what we learned to recite in grade school. It is our national creed of “liberty and justice for all,” regardless of race, national origin, religion or non-religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Either we will be this democracy or we won’t. That is what is at stake.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln, in order to bind up the wounds of this “Cold Civil War” requires us to have “malice toward none and charity toward all.” We, the people of these United States, must invoke from within our hearts, “the better angels of our nature.”
There is a scene in the film “Gettysburg” (1993), in which Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) calls for mutineers to put aside their grievances toward the military authorities and join the 20th Maine in the coming conflagration. He says, it is the right thing to do because under the American flag “We are an army out to set other men free. … We all have value. What we are fighting for in the end – we’re fighting for each other.”
He adds a grim prediction: “Gentlemen, I fear that if we lose this fight, we will lose the war. So, if you join us, I will be personally grateful.”
What Chamberlain said was not only the calling of the Army but the calling of America and its citizens. We have a solemn duty to fight for each other by standing with each other. In doing so, we live by our nation’s highest values by being guardians of each other’s value as people, regardless of who we are or what we are. Regardless of our political tribe.
If we lose that fight, we will lose America.