E pluribus

E pluribus, unum.
From many, one.
That’s the America I believe in.
Where you can be an evangelical Christian or a Unitarian or Jew or Muslim or amalgam or atheist or agnostic.
You can be pro-life or pro-choice or gay or lesbian or straight as an arrow and anti-gay marriage or Republican or Democrat or Libertarian or libertarian or Green or Constitution or a radical centrist.

You can like the Cowboys or Redskins or Red Sox or Yankees or Lakers or Celtics or none of the above.
You don’t have to like anybody or anything. You don’t have to be anybody or anything.
You don’t have to care, and it’s not against the law to care with every fiber of your being.
You can carpe the diem, you can see the forest even for the trees.

The people who left Europe to come to America didn’t know how this America thing would turn out. They didn’t set out to change the world. They just wanted a better life for themselves and their kids.
That’s what we want all these many, many generations later.
We don’t agree on how to get there, but that’s OK.

As long as we believe.
That from our mulitiplicity of viewpoints comes our strength.
That’s it’s our diversity that makes us tick.
That it’s the conservatives who make us penny-conscious. That it’s our liberals who are our social conscience. That it’s the rest of us in the middle who make life happen every morning, every noon, every night.

The point isn’t that we’re never going to agree on everything. It’s that we need to understand why we disagree, and understand that it’s in our disagreement that we are who we are.
That I need to learn from you, that you need to learn from me. That together we’re smarter than either of us are individually. And that collectively we’re even smarter than that.
And that what divides us is what makes us vulnerable. And that we’re what is dividing us.
We’ve met the enemy, as the saying goes, and yep, it’s us.
And if past history is any indication, we’re a tough out.
I believe, though. I believe we can get past where we are, but I also believe it won’t be easy.
I’m reaching my hands out. I just need a taker on either side willing to do the same.

 

Column by Chris Graham

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