Nash Naam new headshot

Recently, many authors have been writing about the fear of permanent division of our country. In an article in the current issue of the Atlantic magazine titled, “Is America a myth?” famous writer Robin Wright wrote, “The United States feels like it is unravelling ... The foundation of our nation has deepening cracks possible too many to repair anytime soon, or perhaps at all.”

She blames the “toxic election season, a national crisis over race, unemployment and a pandemic that is killing tens of thousands every month.” She indicates that, “Our political and cultural fissures have generated growing doubt about the stability of a country that long considered itself an anchor, a model and an exception to the rest of the world.”

In another article in the current issue of Time magazine, author David French asks, “Is America coming Apart?” He sees that America is being pulled apart. He characterizes that division as geographic, ideological and spiritual

While I see where Ms. Wright and Mr. French are coming from, I have a different vision of our beloved country. Yes, on the surface the country seems totally divided and radically polarized, but I don’t see this as a sign of a deep, permanent fracture in the foundation of our country.

The divisions and the deep polarization are not new to our country. We faced that early on between the north and the south that resulted in the Civil War. We faced that also during the Vietnam War and in the ‘60s with the racial divide.

Our country has been through a lot of divisions and fractures, but somehow it pulled itself together to present to the world a uniquely unified entity. It is always said: “Democracy is a mess.” Because the essence of democracy is allowing people to have different points of view that may even clash with each other.

The question is: What can we do to remedy that division and heal those fissures?

We frequently blame the other side. It is also easy to put the blame, all or in part, on our leaders. But what is our responsibility as citizens of this country to heal that division and patch those fissures? Our political leaders can be motivated by the narrow interests of their parties. But we, as citizens, should aim to a higher goal. We should be motivated by our desire to protect the American experiment and heal our country. Our commitment should be first and foremost to our nation – not to our party or our tribe.

Frequently, you hear one side of the political spectrum demeaning the other side and accusing them of not loving this country. I beg to differ. I have numerous Republican and Democratic friends and I can attest to the fact that all of them love and respect this country. All of them want this country to be better, fairer, more noble and more inclusive.

So, if we have people on both sides that share the love of this country, then what is our responsibility as citizens to heal our beloved country? It is time for each and every one of us to face the reality and put some responsibility on ourselves. It is not enough to just blame the other side. We really need to look deep into our hearts and see if we have been fair to the other side or to our country. Can’t we find anything in common to allow us to work together? Unless each and every one of us takes some serious responsibility in reducing the temperature of the divisiveness in our country, there is no chance for any healing.

No matter who wins this election, one side will feel bitterness and actual fear from the other side. I have been in this country for more than 40 years. I have witnessed nine presidential elections. This will be the tenth. And I agree that the anxiety level is much higher than at any other time. But it will be up to us citizens to respect the result of the election and help to heal this nation.

This will not come by throwing blame on each other. It will only come if all of us take a deep breath and start thinking not like a Democrat or Republican but as Americans, Full Stop! Our country is larger and more important than any one party. It is even larger and more significant than any president. Presidents come and go, but the country stays, and its unity and its cohesiveness are of paramount importance.

I urge all my wonderful friends on both sides of the aisle to be agents of peace … agents of reconciliation … and agents of patriotism. There will always be a next election and the next and the next, but our country can’t tolerate the division for a long time.

Please take a second and see deep in your heart what you can do to bring back unity, acceptance and mutual respect.

We all recall the words attributed to Voltaire: “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Why don’t we say that to our friends, neighbors and even to those who oppose our point of view? At the end we are all Americans! We all love this country and want it to succeed in becoming the greatest, the fairest, the wisest and the most wonderful place to live.

It is all in our hands. Let us not waste this opportunity to work together for the benefit of our country and our fellow citizens. And let us give this country to our children and grandchildren as more united, more beautiful and more wonderful than ever.

Recommended for you