Letter: To get beyond this mess, we must pull together

Posted 9/17/20

That statement could be proud and optimistic or shameful and deeply worrying.  This is our question in a divided America.  Are we in this game pulling together, or are we …

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Letter: To get beyond this mess, we must pull together

Posted

To the editor:
Wow!  What a country!

That statement could be proud and optimistic or shameful and deeply worrying.  This is our question in a divided America.  Are we in this game pulling together, or are we willing to let our differences pull us permanently apart?  Both barn raising and cross burning are in our past.  Which will be in our future?

We had an old family friend, once a miner in Scotland.  His “tell ‘em nothin” cynicism changed a lot when as a teenager I helped him study for American citizenship.  I learned then the power of American ideals as we talked about the Bill of Rights.  Like so many of you, I have over the years been proud of America’s progress in human rights — and deeply concerned about the inequality and discrimination that have retarded human rights.  I think that old Tom Braedon would have agreed.

How can we set aside our deep divisions and begin to heal?  A first step is acknowledging that we all have much to learn and to share.  For this to occur, however, we must bury our most dangerous weapons.  Guns?  No.  Our most dangerous weapons are humiliation and fear and loathing.  Imagine, just imagine, if respect were our go-to attitude.  Real respect.  Could a sort of honest kindness be not far behind?  

Our birthright as Americans, many would contend, is to be independent, skeptical, and outspoken.  Great.  But this should not invite sarcasm, cynicism, or a feeling of innate superiority.  A list of crucial issues we need to work on together is a long one.  Even in ideal circumstances this would be hard.  But today we’re down big at half time.  We can place blame and fall further back, or we can pull together and make old Tom really proud that he became an American.

Will Newman
Tiverton

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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.