Editorial: Can we dial down the animosity in America?

Posted 1/14/21

If written a week ago, this editorial would describe the shame and embarrassment of watching one of the sad days in American history unfold on live television. It would excoriate all those …

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Editorial: Can we dial down the animosity in America?

Posted

If written a week ago, this editorial would describe the shame and embarrassment of watching one of the sad days in American history unfold on live television. It would excoriate all those responsible, from the instigating commander-in-chief to the woeful security system that allowed the nation’s Capitol to be ransacked like a Walmart at the fall of civilization.

Alas, a week has passed, and so much has changed. The disgraced president has been almost completely stripped of his influence, and he will hopefully limp quietly through his final days in office. The Rhode Island governor is leaving to join the new administration, and changes are on the wind in all corners of government.

Afforded more perspective on one of the ugly days in U.S. history, all can reflect more on what it could mean for this country. The biggest mistake would be to let it mean nothing.

Everyone on all sides of this nation’s massive political divide should work to make sure Jan. 6 was the low point — not the start of things to come.

With far too many Americans radicalized (and this message is not intended for them, as they are too far gone to listen to reason), the vast majority must reach out their hands to the other side — hands in friendship, respect, or at the very least, grudging acceptance.

To be clear, everyone who can be identified as an instigator or perpetrator of last week’s acts should be arrested and prosecuted. However, while that is running its due course, the remaining 99.9 percent of Americans should move forward, not back.

The most divisive administration in U.S. history is ending. For many, there is optimism that better days lie ahead. But as new leaders and new ideas begin, this is not a time for gloating, taunting, accusing or antagonism. The side that lost is angry, hurt, fearful or ashamed, and those who “won” can help heal the nation if they can show class through the many transitions to come.

Whether talking over a dinner table or trading barbs on Facebook, everyone who shows restraint, everyone who listens to another view point, everyone who gives respect, will be taking tiny steps toward making this a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Jan. 6 was a national embarrassment. Let it live on, not as a rallying cry for animosity, but as a reminder of why this discourse and direction cannot continue.

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.