We cannot allow those who profit in division and prey on our differences to tear us apart.ContinueA Time to Heal

Over the last year, I have reflected deeply on what America represents — what is American, including our many disagreements, complexities and contradictions. After the events in our nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021, I have a memorable image of what is unamerican.

A violent display of entitlement, selfishness, and cruelty defiled a symbol of our republic and our democracy. This tragedy will hopefully serve as a reminder that lies and silence have a cost, and that rhetoric can kill.

As the chill of winter gradually cools the raging flame of this past election, as the banners of political allegiance steadily retreat into garages and Dumpsters, we should not let the violent overshadow the virtuous. We must take stock in what binds us together, and remember the heroes in America, not those who rally against her.

Our country is enduring incredible hardship as we enter a second year of this pandemic. We have learned how much we rely on one another, to appreciate our time together, and the value of a simple hug. We have been reminded of what is real. We have been reminded of what matters.

We have rallied around American ideals of justice and fairness, we have learned to value our local businesses, the contribution of entrepreneurs, come to appreciate the hard work of everyone on the new “front line”, and the incredible heroism of our medical community.

Our teachers have again shown that they are some of our community’s most valuable members. They have risen to this challenge, relearning how to educate, virtually or in-person, for the sake of everyone.

Families have grappled with their new roles as “essential” workers, potentially risking their health to keep food in the fridge, or becoming part-time teachers themselves as they work from home.

Too many were burdened with unreasonable demands, yet rose to the challenge. They are the best of America. They are our leaders. We have accomplished so much with a dysfunctional federal government, without leadership, and without clarity of information.

But even with everything we have achieved, there has been an unbelievable cost. I am just beginning to process all we have lost so quickly. We are passing once-unthinkable numbers of Americans dead to a novel disease. I am still learning whose faces I will no longer get to see. Those who I knew well, and those who I knew at a distance, now leave large and unexpected vacancies in our community.

In this period of shock and pain for the nation, we must look closer to home. We must stop demonizing disagreement. We are Americans first, Democrats and Republicans last, if at all. How we vote is not who we are. Those elected to public office are to represent voters, not to mislead them, hide from their questions or deliver them false promises. We do not pledge allegiance to those who earn our vote. Politics is not war.

We cannot allow those who profit in division and prey on our differences to tear us apart. Do not listen to those who tell you to hate your neighbor. This country is held together by its ideals. If we allow hate to erode the beliefs that bind our nation, we will lose America.

Kyle Esposito
East Rockhill Township

Originally Published in the Intelligencer

Leave a Reply