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American: The only label that counts

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Americans seem so divided in so many ways today. I just got off the phone with my sister a short while ago who called to wish me a happy Father’s Day. She filled me in on an issue going on within her church and school that divided the congregation, and put friends, neighbors and relatives at odds with each other. The conversation resonated with this column that I was well into writing. Whether it’s churches, various organizations, community governments, play grounds, politics, the brand of product you favor or conversations around the water cooler, regardless of the issue it seems to be the national position these days to take sides. Leaving little room for any other opinion except the one you favor.

The internet and the media are full of opinions. It’s easy to find someone who has written something that affirms your beliefs. Personalities, politics and a lack of tolerance seems to permeate every level of society. I witness it each week with this column as I’ve mentioned before. Readers are either wildly in favor or adamantly opposed. While it’s great to have passion for your beliefs, I fear we’ve taken this to a new high and it’s become a non-productive influence within our nation.

From road rage to violence in the schools and the endless bickering of our elected officials; half the nation doesn’t want to know the real truth and the other half is willing to believe anything that sounds disastrous for the other side, and it doesn’t matter which side of an issue you are on since both sides employ the same tactics. If this level of distrust and animosity existed in the 1940’s America would have been hard pressed to accomplish what it did for the world.

No one wants to see a world disaster or conflict to unite this country but as Americans we need to take a hard look at what we are doing, what we are saying and where we are going with our society. We should not squander the opportunity given us by that Great Generation. We need to start pooling our resources together and re-build the pride our forefathers had in this nation; a pride we all should share, regardless of who is in office. We need to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy and recognize the price that was paid for our ability to exercise them. We need to be willing to share those freedoms with our fellow countryman, be more tolerant of their choices and take greater pride in the nation we are privileged to call home. We can build a stronger country or we can watch it decay from a lack of unity and effort.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com.

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