The things that bring us together:
In these days of intense political passions, it seems that we, as Americans, have never been so divided. The endless news cycles are constantly ratcheting up the drama and intensity; the professional “talking heads” are warning us of dire consequences, and predictions of doom and gloom come from media sources of every description.
But Is it really that bad? Certainly, the times we are now experiencing are divisive, emotions are raw, and tempers are hot. But the mainstays of our American Society remain firmly in place, and it is my opinion that there is much more that unites us than there is that divides us.
We live in a democratic society, really the first “working” society of its kind. We vote for the people we believe can best represent us and govern us, and we have vast input into the laws by which we are governed. Sometimes the choice of candidates is not what we would prefer, but the point is that there is a choice. In many countries around the world leaders are not chosen via a democratic process, and the people do not have a say over who rules them. Our American society has become both the most prosperous and most generous that the world has ever seen.
Of course, our form of government has its flaws and is not perfect. Any system, once human beings become involved, can be expected to encounter some of the problems driven by the darker side of human nature. The hope is that our system will continue to improve along a positive course. Winston Churchill once said of democracy, that it was “the worst form of government in the world, except for all the others”! This may be true. But it is a system that allows freedom of thought, of speech, of religion, and personal independence – the foundational building blocks that define us as a society.
Building a better world and leaving the world in a better place for younger generations is another area in which we can agree. We want to ensure that those that follow us have improved prospects for good jobs and fulfilling careers as well as the opportunity for a free and independent way of life. Do we share consensus on the best path to get there, maybe not, but the point is that the desire for a better world for new generations is a unifying idea that can bring us together.
Lastly, the area where we live, Mansfield and the surrounding towns, is unique, and should not be taken for granted. Regardless of political persuasion this is an amazing area. It is a safe and secure place to live. Violent crime is a relative rarity. There are an abundance of educational and vocational opportunities (at the highest levels) for those preparing to enter the job market for the first time or move into new careers. The healthcare options are world renowned. Major Sports and entertainment venues (i.e. Gillette Stadium, Xfinity Center, etc.) are minutes away; not to mention access to the sea shore, the mountains, as well as Boston – one of the major cultural centers of the country.
Certainly, the times in which we currently live are divisive and passionate, maybe even uniquely so, but it is also important to remember that there is still much that unites us and much that we can agree upon.
Steve Nickerson is a 26 year resident of Mansfield, and is the Vice Chairman of the Mansfield Republican Town Committee – www.mansfieldgop.com. The opinions he expresses are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the committee members.