We are the greatest nation on earth. But you couldn’t know that from how we choose to treat each other. We have faced many adversities as a people and prevailed.
Generations before paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we have today. We should be grateful. Together we have accomplished much and can accomplish more. However, now more than ever when we should be united in noble causes but we are sorely divided. Political partisanship separates us and gridlocks government.
Lincoln declared a house divided against itself cannot stand. Labeling each other liberal or conservative on formed opinions, we do not respect or listen to one another’s beliefs. End the finger-pointing. Talking with each other civilly, we might learn we have a lot in common. And once more we will be Americans first.
Our enemies care not what we label ourselves. As Americans we are their target. Unified we can overcome any threat. Putting divisions aside we can embrace needed changes together. Without compromise and decisions on well-reasoned debate, we will not.
One side may claim to win a partisan battle. Yet, in alienating half of America no one wins. Without a spirit of cooperation our finest hours pass us by. Nothing gets done.
The greatest generation came before us. What will be our legacy? Greatness can be generational. President Ronald Reagan said we stand as a nation like a city upon a hill, bestowed with a higher purpose, the beacon of democracy. Now we don’t even seem capable of lighting the way for each other. This is a defining moment in our history. We can and must choose to stand for each other, regardless of persuasion, religion, race, belief or stature. Or we cannot stand strongly for anyone.
Anger will tear us apart with America’s greatness won by our ancestors lost on ourselves. Lost because we refuse to agree? Lost because we throw stones forgetting the story of the Good Samaritan? Lost because some use the Bible or a cause selectively supporting positions but condemning others believing differently? We judge one another. Surely, as a nation under God we have not forgotten the commandment love thy neighbor as yourself? Or does it not apply to disrespectful political rankling ?
There is no room in American society for division, hate or winner-take-all. A government of the people has moral obligations to care for its own regardless of circumstance. By failing in these fundamental obligations we fail ourselves. Politicians rail loudly against opponents, vilifying them and dividing us on ideology.
Special interest money dominates politics. But our voice and vote are still powerful. By speaking out for unity we can set a new course. Self-imposed divisions diminish our power. We lose sight of responsibilities that come with the gifts we have. Lost in partisanship and self-righteousness we are like a ship without a compass.
What do we stand for if we do not stand for each other equally, upon the rights granted us? To remain great we must resolve to embrace civil debate and remember our common American purpose. Lincoln called a divided nation to unite at the end of the Civil War by finding the better angels of our nature. Assuredly, this applies now. It is our choice.
PHIL BUSEY, an Edmond resident, is chairman and CEO of The Busey Group of Companies in Oklahoma City.