How Can We, the People, Unite?

You will find all kinds of references to you, the people, we the people, us, again we, the moment belongs to you, your country, the people, we are one nation. There was even a Bible quote: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
This should make our hearts soar with optimism about the future.

Except … all those phrases somehow seemed less inviting than they might. In the wake of what may well have been the most contentious election in modern times, our country remains divided. 

President Donald Trump’s inaugural speech broke no ground on the path to unity that many of us hope for. Unity requires respect for others. Respect for their beliefs. Respect for their principled opposition. Respect for their religions. Respect for their gender.
The pressing question is, what can our new president bring to the table in the way of unity, or even amity? He is famous for never apologizing — why should he, since he never makes mistakes? — and for his loose relationship with truth (alternative facts, anyone?). Can he temper his temper, agree to disagree, work with others? 

It’s important to remember that Trump did not win a mandate or in a landslide. He lost the popular vote, and not by a small margin either — though he blames, without evidence, voter fraud on a massive scale.

The administration’s opponents should take care not to go the way of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who saw his task as making sure that President Obama did not succeed at anything. Nor should our representatives, on both sides of the aisle, “go along to get along” with Trump simply because he is president. The admonition would be to respect the office, to feel free to disagree and, when there is an opportunity to reach agreement, to seek to do so.

As for President Trump, let’s start focusing on what he does, not just on what he says — or, worse, tweets — and how he says it.


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