Make America indivisible again

Published 8:30 am Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Mankato Free Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

The presidential campaign has been unprecedented in its rancor and divisive rhetoric, but the American electorate has had the last word and it is now time to give President-elect Donald Trump an opportunity to unite the country.

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Trump struck the right tone in his victory speech, promising to be “president for all Americans.” Hillary Clinton, in her concession remarks, urged her followers to be open-minded and give Trump a chance to lead and succeed.

The final phrase of the “Pledge of Allegiance” is a good place to start as we make our nation one that is “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Ardent Clinton and Trump supporters must now do things that will make our nation indivisible first. That means it is time to pull back the personal attacks, the character assassination and many of the caustic themes pushed by the candidates but that just don’t matter when it comes to running our democracy.

Hillary Clinton has been cleared of email charges legally, and Donald Trump has regretted his crude descriptions and disrespectful tones toward women. We can blame Trump for bringing forth the personal attacks and we can blame Clinton for fighting back hard with the same. And we can blame ourselves for letting it happen and encouraging it once it did. The national media played an unsavory role as well, highlighting the ugly fights for ratings.

Now, it is time for all of us to move on and do better. The new president and Congress need to act in a way that will make our country an avatar of equality.

That means Black Lives Matter and others concerned about racial injustice need their time at the table. As do police officers, who are put in untenable situations as crime and fear smother our cities.

Political leaders need the guts to admit the growing discontent and do something about it. That includes listening to the grievances of the ignored blue-collar segment of our population that gravitated to Trump as their champion.

While too few policy issues surfaced in what turned out to be a bitter personal campaign, the challenges of the economy, health care, national security and immigration are real. Congress must work with the new president to solve these and other issues that have been festering to the frustration of Americans who turned out in great numbers to demand change.

Some social science experts argue we’ve never been more divided; that we’ve never cared so little about immigrants and others who come to our country. Even family and friend relationships have been tested by polarized attitudes.

All of which makes it imperative our newly elected leaders heed the call to return to the principles our country was founded on and help make our Pledge of Allegiance ring true again — “indivisible…and with liberty and justice for all.”