By the time you read this column, our nation will have chosen its new president-elect.
I have my preference for the outcome of a most challenging political season, preferring experience over novelty, sensibility over bluster, temperament over torridness. But with either outcome, it’s clear we will have work to do as a nation to address the manifold divisions that threaten our democracy. If our history proves repeatable, at least we will have a peaceable transition from one leader to another, unlike many smaller-minded countries who jail the loser and seek to destroy their opponent’s followers. It’s a not-so-small mercy and gift of our constitutional process.
Truth is, apart from a few crazies and hotheads, what we want from our government is pretty much what everybody else in the world wants from theirs: peace not war, justice without bloodshed on the one hand, and on the other, simply a chance to raise our families, keep the wolf from our door, enjoy productive work, receive decent health care and some type of security in old age. We are willing to have a government that collects and spends tax dollars fairly and evenly, builds and fixes roads and schools, keeps our streets safe and our court system just. We can live with political systems that differ and ideologies that see issues through distinct and differing eyes as long as they show a willingness to compromise as needed in order to get necessary things done in a timely way.
What we don’t want and certainly don’t need are leaders who hurl insults, invectives and threats against each other or plot to jam up the functioning of government for partisan reasons or denigrate each other’s motives. Leaders compromise in order to find workable middle ground for the common good, knowing that the next time the solution may lean in the other’s direction.
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At this most basic and fundamental level, if our duly and freely elected government doesn’t uphold the dreams and aspirations of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, why on earth did they ever seek such an office?
Government is a good gift of God. Its primary role is to help provide for the necessities and basic comforts of life, including peace and security for all citizens and even all residents, citizen or not. Leaders who strive to accomplish such basic matters are worthy of trust and support. Leaders who do not so strive, deserve the opportunity to find a new line of work. God bless them in their search.
Kim Latterell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.