How can we heal the deep rifts between Democrats and Republicans?

Modified DonkeyHotey caricature of (L) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and (R) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Who knew that in 2021 we would be having a national discussion about the legality of expelling members of Congress because they are QAnon adherents? What have we become, and what can we do to rebuild our nation and heal the deep rifts between Democrats and Republicans?

When I look back to who we were as a country in 2016 and compare it today, I feel hopeful and sad. Sure, the U.S. of A has always been a flawed concept. We must accept responsibility for our mistakes. We have been on the wrong and the right side of history many times since our founding. We have significant issues to solve, including racism, our outdated education system, the rising cost of living, and training a workforce for the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.

My son asked me recently whether or not I am proud to be American, and I stopped in my tracks, turned to him, and said, “that is a great question.” Am I proud to be American? And then I thought, “Why do the Republicans and Trump, in particular, get to own our symbols of patriotism?” I’m sure that I am not the first to admit that I automatically assume they are Trump supporters when driving by houses with American flags.

So when my son questioned my patriotism today, my first thought was, “well, maybe I am not.”

Hours later, I sit here writing and realize that you don’t automatically get to be a patriot because you blare the song “I am proud to be American” from your car speaker. Come on now; it’s not how many flags you have up in your front yard or bumper stickers on your car that make you American. I mean, if you think about it, how many countries have you been to where citizens so blatantly display their national flag? Almost none. It’s a strange phenomenon to have to announce to your fellow Americans that you’re an American, right? I mean, we all live in the USA, so by living here, doesn’t that make you proud to be an American?

This cult of Trump that has swaggered into frame does not reflect who we are. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Josh Hawley, and Matt Gaetz are not Americans: they are troubled souls wanting us to tread a difficult path. They want darkness instead of light. They thrive on creating division instead of unity. They place power over purpose. And they do not represent the American spirit.

But we must prevail once again. Each person in this great nation must ensure that we create a compelling future that includes all of us. And the way we can start to deal with cult involvement is through fact-based education. We must continue to combat disinformation. We must look past yesterday and focus on creating a brighter tomorrow. In the words of Will Rogers: “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

We will get through this together.

This story is an excerpt from Front Page Live Chief Creative Officer Stacy Whittle’s newsletter. Click here to sign up and we will send her words right to your inbox.

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