Let Us Not Forget the Ties That Bind

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” -Adlai E. Stevenson

Last night it was announced Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. Citizens poured into Ground Zero and gathered outside the White House.

Chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” filled the streets and the social networks.

It all revives memories of the post-9/11 surge of patriotism when flags flew and Members of Congress united in song.

Almost as soon as we united, we once more split.

It’s far too easy to allow our politics to consume us. It’s fine to dissent, but let us do so with civility.

“But so-and-so is really to blame–”

Stop. Breathe. Remember the times when we were united under the cause of patriotism? When we were all merely Americans reveling in the same hope?

As we head into the 2012 campaign season, I hold whatever meager grasp I can muster to the hope we can engage each other with civility. Too often I’ve heard people reference the Middle East with the standby, “Why can’t we all just get along?” and wondered why that doesn’t apply to us as well.

Discourse is the heart of politics. I don’t think you have to have public speaking experience to know name calling does not win arguments. Sound reasoning does.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little too idealistic this morning. Or maybe I’m just a citizen who sees people of various backgrounds united in love for this country. Knowing one day we will revert to our usual ways but hoping “this time is different”.

It takes the actions and death of a single man to unite us. It should take all of us collectively to keep it going.

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