We’re in this together
The nation’s motto “E Pluribus Unum” translates to “out of many, one.”
Originally, the motto reflected the formation of a single, new nation from a collection of British colonies. Later, its meaning was recast to reflect the contributions of immigrants to create our unique — and incredibly productive — melting-pot culture. We come from everywhere, but we’re a single people — Americans.
The motto could also describe the rancorous process of electing a president. Out of many aspirants, we’ll select one person to lead this nation through a period of tumult and discord.
Let’s start there. The vast majority of Americans are holding their noses in this election, selecting a candidate who likely wasn’t their first choice. Not every vote cast for Trump or Clinton represents a dyed-in-the-wool believer. So, let’s not cast aspersions on anyone’s choice. We’re all doing the best we can here. We’re all voting because we love our country and our way of life and we want to make both better. We all love our children and we want to pass on a better life than we had.
The person in the Trump hat or the Hillary T-shirt wants the same things we all want — safety, well-being, financial security and to exercise our rights under the Constitution. You know — the pursuit of happiness.
The candidates represent differing paths. But we are united in that we want things to get better. If we can’t start with our common humanity and desire for good, everything we try to build will crumble.
When Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government had been created by the delegates to the constitutional convention, he said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
This is a democracy and it requires participation. And that doesn’t mean just voting. It means taking time to understand the precepts of self-rule and hone an understanding of the phrase “a government of laws and not of men.” Above all, we elect government officials to uphold the Constitution. We’re united in our respect for the rule of law, which is above the power of any person or institution.
Neither Trump nor Clinton will solve all of our problems or ruin this country. To accomplish either would require cooperation from the two other co-equal branches of government. If we believe in the Constitution, we take comfort in the checks and balances it provides.
No other country has a better foundation than ours. The exercise of free will is our greatest gift as a nation. If at any point we grow tired of big money or special interests dictating outcomes, we have the power to do something about it.
If you’re dissatisfied with your choices for president, you’re not alone. We may not be united in who we vote for, but we’re united in wanting better choices.
Consider that we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving soon with friends and family who don’t necessarily share our political views. We don’t write off family as “the enemy.” Nor should we write off our fellow Americans, all of whom are just searching for something to believe in.