We find ourselves on the eve of a most historic election, one that most of us a few years ago never would have predicted or expected. The weeks and months leading up to this day have been filled with sound bites of some of the most divisive words and actions I have witnessed in my lifetime. There have been many moments in which I have had to remind my children how atypical these recent times have been – politically and otherwise – compared to the past, at least the past I can recollect. I remember seemingly “divisive” presidential elections in which the stark contrast between candidates seemed clear. However, I cannot recall a single race that left me feeling anything remotely close to the disappointment I experienced watching the first presidential debate of the 2020 season. Something has happened to what we deem acceptable. But as a parent, I continue to remind myself, and my children, that it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Parenting is all about hard choices, realizing sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you get it totally wrong. There is nothing wrong about making mistakes. It is human, and we all do it (especially in the parenting department!). However, it is what we do with those mistakes that matters. Do we continue to make the same ones over and over again? Do we recognize our failings, recommit ourselves to something better, and march forward? As a parent, for the sake of my children, I must always choose the latter.
My intention is not to make a political statement for one side or another. It is to make a statement about the need for unity, civility, and healing. When our founding fathers talked about forming “a more perfect union,” I do believe that was indeed the intent. There were thoughtful checks and balances built into the design that were not intended to be politicized, co-opted, or leveraged for any particular person or party’s gain. They were designed to protect the totality of the system and all who relied upon it. When we lose that perspective, the strength of that union weakens. It becomes less perfect, not more.
And at the base of that more perfect union was the belief that something beautiful could grow from a common commitment and system of governance and support, while still celebrating individual freedom. These days, we seem to have the ability to embrace and protect our individual freedoms, but something has been lost along the way in terms of how that fits within the common commitment to each other and the overall system put in place to ensure the ongoing preservation of those freedoms, general welfare, defense, and more.
Like most people, I do not believe these things have to be at odds. I would venture to guess that most people also do not believe that the current state of affairs in this country is where they want to see this country remain or believe that it is the best we are capable of. With this election soon in the rearview mirror, it is time to refocus ourselves on what is good and common among us all. At PGK, we talk often about the power of every one of us to make a difference. I believe our country is asking us to show that power to ourselves and to each other right now more than ever.
Focus on the Good: Sign Up for Create the Change Week (Online)—November 7-15, 2020