As 2023 closes and 2024 begins, there is reason for both hope and concern about our nation’s politics and the threat of political violence moving forward.
Hope can be found primarily in the growing pushback from the public on the stalemate, name-calling, and anger manifested by many of our citizens and elected leaders. Judy Woodruff’s PBS series America at a Crossroads tells about how that is manifested. Less visible is the growing set of elected officials who want to be perceived as bipartisan rather than ideological. We have received numerous requests from officials’ staffers to learn how they can raise their score in the Common Ground Scorecard, a tool we created for voters to allow them to see which of their candidates are the most bipartisan. Dean Philips (D-MN), running against Joe Biden for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, rarely speaks or does an interview without stating that he is the second highest-rated politician in the Common Ground Scorecard.
But concern remains. Just the presence of former President Trump in the election provides an injection of fear that there will be political violence approaching, during, and after the election. The sudden and rocket-like propulsion of the Middle East conflict that is serving to divide our citizens further is making it that much harder for Americans to see how it is going to be possible to live peacefully with those they disagree with.
As we look across the landscape, we are struck by the fact that we, the people, can and will make the greatest impact, positive or negative. We will either get into the vortex of the fight and continue to stand for this cause or against that cause. Or, we can decide to stop, take a deep breath, resist the urge to attack, and instead listen and work to understand why that person we disagree with believes as they do. Just that conversation can diffuse the tension. If enough of us do this, and if our leaders follow *our* lead, it can revolutionize how our government operates.
The choice is yours. Will you make the right one? We hope so. We will encourage that approach as we head into and move beyond the Holidays, and we hope you‘ll go with us.
For now, may you and yours enjoy a wonderful Holiday season. We will see you next year!
Bruce and Erik