Editorial: We can and should be better as a nation, as a community

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The Fourth of July Holiday has come and gone for another year. We celebrated it with our usual pageantry, with parades and fireworks. We gathered as a nation at cookouts and festivals. We listened to speeches proclaiming the greatness of these United States of America, the words spoken with genuine feeling and emotion.

This country of ours, the one created on the thoughts and beliefs of our founding fathers, is the continuation of a noble and heart-felt endeavor.

With all that being written, 237 years after its creation, we can be better as a nation. We should be better. That is true not only nationally, but also locally.

To do this, we need to coalesce around ideas, not ideology. Our first president, George Washington, of all people predicted in his farewell address the dangers of political parties, of affiliations based not on facts, but on issues and idealism. His well chosen words issued in 1796 ring as true today as they did then.

Political parties aren't the sole cause of the paralysis currently ensnarling our federal government, but they play a significant role. The strident dedication to an ideology, to an ideal has rendered common sense and reality to the sideline.

At the local level, partisan politics don't play quite the same role. In its place, though, are often propensities towards pettiness and a disregard for reason and rational thought.

As we embark on our 238th year as a country, as we attempt to form a more perfect union, we should agree to put politics aside, put the people, the community and the greater good first.

It's an altruistic thought, but it's actually not far off from the premise upon which this great country of ours was founded and what we really should be celebrating each Fourth of July.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.