We need less division and more unity

We need less division and more unity
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This presidential cycle has arguably brought out the very worst in our nation. Insults are hurled and characters are assassinated within a cascade of name-calling, personal threats, intimidation, bullying, outright lying and sneering false sanctimony — and that was just during the latest presidential debate. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our union to observe the behavior of the people seeking to lead our country. 

The nominees for president are two of the most unpopular candidates in history. Many people who are voting are not inspired to support one candidate, instead casting ballots simply to prevent the other from winning. The question of who should hold the highest office in our nation — and instantly become the most powerful person in the world — has transformed from one of who deserves this honor and can handle this responsibility to deciding who would be most likely to do the least damage. Choosing from the lesser of two evils is not an ideal situation, to say the least. Distrust toward our government is at an all-time high, and the American people are badly polarized.

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As the election campaign wears on, the language is becoming more and more crass. The attacks the candidates are leveling at each other are becoming more and more personal. Lines have been crossed time and again, as we are no longer surprised by anything that happens — disgusted, perhaps, but not surprised. 

The media must bear responsibility for the role it continues to play in fomenting this political blood sport. The continuous pre-debate coverage and the speculation about how the candidates might attack each other proved to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and does our country no favors. The build-up and the outrage stirred up by the press serves to further polarize our country. It is reminiscent of pre-fight hype before a boxing match. On the debate stage, as in the ring, the candidates circle each other. They swing hard and fight tooth and nail to achieve “victory.” But at what cost? We all come out bruised and bloodied, and ultimately we all have lost. 

With just weeks to go before the election, I pray that the presidential candidates and the American people can rise from this muck and focus instead on what is truly important: the policies that will either drive our nation forward or mire it in stagnation. Instead of discussing who is more hateful and who can be nastier, let’s discuss how to boost the economy. Let’s hear serious discussions about healthcare, trade and foreign policy. Instead of beating each other down, let’s discuss how we can all play a role in keeping America at the top. The future of our country, and of the entire world, depends upon it.

Ironically, the second presidential debate of this cycle fell squarely in the middle of the High Holidays, the holiest time of the year for our Jewish brothers and sisters. During this period, between Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish new year — and Yom Kippur  — the Day of Atonement — the Jewish people embark on a process called teshuva, where they recognize their past mistakes and make amends for anything they have done wrong during the past year. Most importantly, they promise to try to be better in the future.

We should all try to be better in the year ahead.

Let’s elevate our rhetoric. Instead of concentrating on our differences, let’s focus on our commonalities. Believe it or not, we have some. Even Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch MORE agree on some issues.

America is the greatest country in the world. We should not be rolling around in the gutter. We should not allow our rhetoric to devolve into foul language and rampant disrespect for our fellow citizens. I continue to believe that the majority of the American people are honest, respectful and hardworking. They do not deserve to see the very people vying for the highest office in our land to be brawling and swearing and adopting a scorched-earth approach to this election. A more dignified approach is in order and long overdue: one where the candidates share their thoughts and plans and philosophies. As Americans, we need to recognize the humanity in people who may have different thoughts from our own about how to secure our future and ensure the best possible outcome for the generation to come.

Our electoral decisions should not hinge upon name-calling or the leaking of scandals, but upon the policies we believe have the most merit. 

America is the land of the free. We are free, and we are also free to argue. But we should do so with respect. We must understand that other opinions are valid, and perhaps we can even learn from those with whom we disagree.

On Nov. 8, we will elect a new president. That person will lead our country for the next four years. And regardless of the outcome of the election, we will have a peaceful transfer of power. That’s what this democracy does — America is a shining example for the world. Regardless of what happens at the polls, we will need to come together, find some common ground and restore some level of decorum to our politics.

America does not have to be divided. We must truly be the United States of America. We have a diverse population and many different opinions, and that is what makes our country great and unique. But at the end of the day, we should remember the words on the Seal of the United States: E pluribus unum — out of many, one. 

Williams is manager/sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the year. Listen to him on Sirius XM126 Urban View nightly 6–8 p.m. EST and follow him on Twitter @arightside.