If ever we doubted the deep divide that separates us, all we had to do was watch the horror of the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. For decades, as we watched similar events in other countries, we contented ourself with the thought “that can’t happen here.”
How wrong we were. Not only could it happen here — it did happen here. Pictures of members of the mob occupying the Senate floor, sitting with feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk, trying to break into the House chamber were stunning.
That the mob was incited by our own president is shocking beyond belief. For many Americans, the urge to get Donald Trump out of office immediately is natural. There can be no question that he violated his oath to uphold the Constitution when he addressed his angry supporters Wednesday morning. His continued pronouncements that he overwhelmingly won the November presidential election but that it was stolen from him did nothing but feed the anger and angst of his millions of followers, keeping their discontent at a fever pitch.
As stated often, there is no question that former Vice President Joe Biden won the election. No evidence of widespread voter fraud has turned up, despite numerous recounts and dozens of judicial rejections of fraud claims.
As tempting as it is to want President Donald Trump removed from office, efforts to remove him through the 25th Amendment or by impeachment must stop. Donald Trump will be president for 10 more days. Only 10 days. Yes, perhaps President Trump shouldn’t have even those final 10 days, but any effort to deny him that time in office would divide this country even more.
Congress must stop viewing impeachment as a cure for petty partisan differences.
While decisions as important as whether to remove a sitting president shouldn’t be made based on approval ratings, it is imperative our leaders consider the results of their actions.
Now is not the time to divide us further. If we are to survive as a nation, as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world, we must begin the healing process. Such a process won’t be easy. Good people on both sides of the divide must want a reunited America and must lead the way to reaching that goal.
To achieve reunion, we must admit that both sides want the best for America, even though we may not agree on what that is. We must acknowledge that the people on the other side are, good, decent, loyal Americans. That some people don’t agree with us doesn’t make them bad, doesn’t make them somehow less American. We should try to understand why the other side believes as it does.
For instance, why are the president’s millions of supporters so unhappy with government as usual? What do they want? Why are Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez so angry at the relatively slow pace of change?
Are there areas on which both sides can agree or work toward agreement? We believe there are, so how do we begin that process?
There always will be differences in how we view America and the direction it is going. That is normal, it is healthy, it is to be expected. But we must respect those differences and talk about them with calmness and with respect.
There can be no Republican America, no Democratic America. America doesn’t belong only to the left or only to the right.
This is our America, and we are all Americans, with hopes and dreams and visions for the future we must work together to accept and to reach.
Whatever our belief, our hope, our understanding of America, we can view the events of Wednesday with horror and dismay. Not in our country.
But we all must work to see that it never, ever happens again.