It’s a new year and a good time to start anew.
As 2014 begins, we hope America can overcome the divisiveness that has marked recent years. It seems that no one can express an opinion without being beset by critics. There seems to be little tolerance for diversity of thought, which should be the hallmark of an enlightened country.
Our president and Congress must work together to ensure that all Americans can live safe, happy and productive lives. Government leaders at all levels need to set aside politics and find solutions to our common problems instead of their relentless focus on differences.
That spirit of cooperation is what made the United States a great country. Though the people have been divided many times over the years — by poverty, war, race, religion and other issues — it is in our cohesiveness that has made this nation so powerful.
Think about where we have drawn strength: in unifying against the British to form this nation, drawing together after the Civil War, gleaning talent and culture from our “melting pot,” rebuilding after the Depression and solidifying amid the patriotism after World Wars I and II and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
We need that now. The politicians have to figure out how to ensure that the economic recovery continues and that the health-insurance crisis is solved so all people can get the care they need.
A just-released CNN/ORC International poll shows that two-thirds of those questioned feel this is the worst Congress ever.
“That sentiment exists among all demographic and political subgroups,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “Men, women, rich, poor, young, old — all think this year’s Congress has been the worst they can remember.
“Older Americans — who have lived through more congresses — hold more negative views of the 113th Congress than younger Americans. Republicans, Democrats and independents also agree that this has been the worst session of Congress in their lifetimes.”
We don’t know how much clearer people can make it that they want a change in attitude. Members of Congress must lower their defenses and start listening — to each other and to fed-up Americans.
The year 2014 can be different. It can be remembered as the year that government leaders worked together to solve the nation’s most formidable problems. Imagine how strong, peaceful and inventive this country could be if we could compromise and move forward together.
And that same sense of cooperation should happen at the individual level. We can all work to be more tolerant, open-minded, caring and civil to each other this year.
Perfect collaboration is probably not achievable, but wouldn’t it be better if we at least began moving in the right direction?
Let’s start today.