I am writing to you today not as a Republican, or a Democrat or from the perspective of any other political party. I am offering my position as a Patriot, as someone that was moved by the act of standing in the rotunda of the National Archives, looking down at the original constitution. A document that created our nation and the rule of law as it was written 233 years ago. It was a model for the world and many countries have followed our lead. Our founders would be proud.
But something has gone terribly wrong. Somewhere, over the last thirty years, we have lost the concept of what can I do for my country and settled for what can my country for me. We have gone from caring about each other to caring only about me and if something is good for me, who cares what damage that does to someone else. It’s not the first time it’s happened here, but the first time it has seemed so contagious.
It was back during the Civil War when it first raised its ugly head. It was a war that was disguised as a fight for state’s rights but was truly about the abolition of slavery. Think about it. Why did the North fight the battle? There were no slaves in their neighborhood or in their city or town. It didn’t affect the average man one bit. They fought because it was wrong, wrong because one man claimed the right to own another man. So wrong that they send hundreds of thousands to their maker to fight against that right. The South fought to keep the slaves, not because there was any joy in owning people, but because the economics of building their farms required people to work for only room and board. It didn’t matter how awful that existence was for the slave as long as it was good for the plantation owner.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we are back at that same time, 155 years later. The divide between left and right has never been wider or the anger more intense. The deep disagreements have opened the door to the fringe groups slinking out of the woodwork to spew their vileness all over the streets. The battle lines are no longer geographic and the violence is brought into our home by the internet, with both sides being manipulated and sharing that manipulation across our screens.
As I Patriot, I stand by your right to have an opinion. But the time has come for all of us to exhibit some responsibility for the stuff we post. If you think that the name calling and disrespect for each other is improving the country or the world, if you think that the world you are contributing to is a place you want your children to grow up in or your offspring 2, 3 or 4 generations forward to live in, then you are deeply depraved. I saw a man share a post that said he hated every person of my political party and that we should all die. I counted him as a friend, I have spent many hours sitting in a room with him, bought goods from his company and now he wants me dead. We are no longer friends.
All I ask is that you take five minutes to fact check the validity of a story before you share it. Prove the statement to your conscience, assuming is it still functioning and verify the facts. I adore my kids, crazy about all of them and I fear for the society that you are creating. The next Civil War will not be New York fighting against Georgia 900 miles away. This one will be fought on all of our streets, neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member. Is that really what you want for your kids.
The greatest casualty of such a war will be the republic itself and the democracy created by that document sitting in a glass cabinet under that rotunda. Will the last person leaving that shining city on a hill please turn off the lights and don’t forget the flag.