It is July, Independence Day is just around the corner. We are in the thick of a Presidential election campaign. Stories concerning President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, fill our newspapers, our television and radio stations and the internet news.
There are weeks you would swear that the insults and barbs are directed at an enemy nation, not at an individuals who are lead and/or seek to lead, this great nation. Listening to the venom in the political debate, you would swear that neither candidate is fit to be President. In fact, both of these men are good men. They are flawed, as are we all. Their values, and the values of their parties, may be different than yours and mine. But they are not evil, incompetent or stupid.
Francis John McConnell, a bishop in the Methodist Church and president of DePauw University from 1909-1912, said it well:
“We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us”.
We are so fortunate to live in a country that values its citizens. Our government is a model for the world. We are so fortunate to live in a nation with a United States Constitution that speaks to fundamental rights such as freedom, democracy, liberty and the rule of law. Wouldn’t our founding fathers weep at the level of venom directed at our government leaders; not only our Presidential candidates, but all levels of elected office (and this isn’t the day to talk about the election of judges.)
As fortunate as we are, and have been, our nation has serious problems, and we aren’t going to solve them by demeaning our government leaders through campaigns of hate. And can’t we stop throwing insulting comments at family and friends who vote for “the other guy”. Can’t we recognize their virtues?
Isn’t this a time to direct our attention to finding solutions to serious national problems: the economy, immigration policy, strengthening our position as a leader within the community of nations. Can’t we look for answers together. Can’t we set aside our anger long enough to find common ground and to focus on solving problems together rather than focusing on new ways to embarrass and harangue those with whom we disagree. Can’t we make our leaders and each other look good, not bad?
Support the candidate of your choice. Raise money, go door to door, help the processes of democracy work well. But at the end of the day, can’t we just find each other’s virtues?
In this opinion we do not intend to speak for our employers, our spouses, our families or our friends.