Written by Dr. Mary Theresa (Terry) Webb, West Lampeter. This LTE was first published on October 18, 2020 in LNP/LancasterOnline. Reprinted here with permission from the author.
In her Op-Ed on Sept 27th, Jess King pleaded with Lancastrians to find what we have in common for the good of the community. Currently, we are a community and a nation divided. Whoever wins the presidency on or around November 3rd, the other side will be upset – some may be upset enough to become destructive to themselves and others. As a member of Braver Angels, a national organization of volunteers, we have been attempting to bridge the divide between Reds (Republicans) and Blues (Democrats) with structured dialogues on a variety of controversial topics. We have prepared this statement and, if you agree, please go to the BraverAngels.org website and sign this letter.
“At a moment of danger in this era of divisiveness, We the American People come together to speak for the Union. Some of us will vote for President Trump and others for Vice President Biden. But in this season of intense and legitimate partisanship, we the undersigned commit ourselves also to a higher partisanship – for the maintenance of our Union; for the importance of our shared civic life; and for those feelings of goodwill that Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.
For ourselves and for all Americans, we appeal for the complete disavowal of election-related violence, calls for such violence, or excuse-making for anyone on either side who would commit or tolerate violence as a means of influencing an election.
In a time of growing separation, we pledge ourselves to words and deeds intended to help us find each other as citizens. We start with this commitment: We will not demonize or question the decency of Americans who vote differently from us. When we oppose their political views, we will say so with vigor, but we won’t castigate them as persons.
If in the near future we face a constitutional crisis in which our institutions cannot produce consensus on who is the legitimately elected president, we resolve to work together across this chasm for solutions grounded in the Constitution and guided by our democratic and non-violent traditions and our sense of shared destiny.
At stake in this contest is democracy’s North Star – peaceful political transition. It’s a time for opponents, but not for enemies. We the undersigned will work separately for what each of us believes is right, but we will also work together to protect the land we all love – to lift up American citizenship and the American promise in a time of peril and to find in ourselves the understanding that our differences don’t simply divide us, but also can strengthen and complete us.”
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