As Americans, we must remember that united we stand, divided we fall
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I am convinced that most people want similar things out of life. Whether you’re black, white, Latino, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, atheist, straight, gay, bisexual, or transgender — we all basically want the same things. We all want to be happy. We all want the opportunity to chase our dreams. We all want the best for our kids, loved ones, and communities.

Yet, this has somehow escaped us as the primary focus of politics, which is to foster an environment that allows people to be their best selves. We won’t always agree — we never have — but that shouldn’t hinder our ability to make progress for the greater good of society. We cannot continue to trivialize the problems of our current political climate as merely a moment in time. At what point do we all come together and say enough is enough, we owe each other so much more?

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A gunman attacked members of Congress because of politics. Two were killed in an attempted attack on the lives of two women in Oregon because of their Muslim faith. But despite all of the daunting signs of a nation in distress, we continue on a downward spiral. Our leaders are absent to say anything, believing that loyalty to party trumps loyalty to country.

 

Our political and cultural climate and the discourse that has followed has convinced us all that we’re so dissimilar that our hopes, dreams, and aspirations are different. However, that cannot be the furthest thing from the truth because, at the core, they’re not. This pretense has caused so much strife and division that we can’t even stomach to be in the same room as people who think differently than us.

Yet, despite all of our progress as a society — scientifically, culturally, economically, and militarily — we are behaving as if we don’t have a history to draw on, like a new country with no experience that allows them to operate in the present to build a better future. This proposition is so erroneous. Yet, we continue to go down the wrong road, increasingly reaching a place of improbable return.

Our ability to work together on the things we share in common has been eroded to the point where all sides have lost all objectivity and balance. Just when we think it can’t get any worse, it does.

From sending tweets attacking journalists and stating fictitious claims we now refer to as “alternative facts,” to pushing art to reprehensible limits by holding a mock decapitated head of the leader of the free world, to political leaders in one party referring to the other as the “death party,” we are doing nothing to tackle the many problems our country faces.

Republicans and Democrats have all played a role in the degradation of common decency. Preferring to be reductionist in their approach to the complexities of politics and life in general. Choosing to play to the extremes of both sides will only cause further division and strife. Have we not figured that out yet? It’s all too obvious for us not to.

The questions must be asked: what do we owe each other as human beings? How should we comport ourselves? And are we maintaining the highest form of dignity towards our fellow American? These are all profound questions that we must all ask ourselves during this time of great uncertainty.

During our moments of quietude, we must all self-reflect on our individual role in this process we call democracy. As John Dickinson wrote in 1768, “join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”

Shermichael Singleton is a CNN political commentator and a Republican political strategist who has worked on the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Ben Carson. Follow him on Twitter @Shermichael_.


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