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Local Voices: Overcoming Hatred, Racism, Anger and Fear: We Can Do This!

At times I see so much hate, racism, anger and fear among our citizenry.

Accordingly, I decided that I could be a “spectator,” or I could be a “participant.”

Personally, and firstly, I give thanks for being a citizen of the United States. I give thanks to all those who helped and empowered me over the years, decades and three-quarters of a century, plus. I give thanks to all those whose backs and shoulders that I have stood and built upon all And, I give “heartfelt thanks” for realizing that I have not been alone, nor have I done it all by myself. Only in America, at this time and place, could have I been so blessed and fortunate in receiving all my “gifts of love, laughter and life.”

True, America is not without her “bruises, blemishes and blockages,” but she is still, by far, the best when it comes to freedom, opportunity and progress. In short, America is not perfect, but she is far better than her contemporaries are.

America is still great because she has an innate strength and enduring stamina to heal her bruises and cleanse her wounds. America is still great, because she steadfastly promotes optimism and assertively overcomes pessimism.

I firmly believe that most Americans want what is best for our fellow citizens and our country: fairness, opportunity, responsibility, education, respect, equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

If “we” work together, this can be accomplished. Our history, heritage and humanity demand and require this of us.

To paraphrase JFK: “Ask what you can do for country … not what country can do for you …”

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Or, to quote FDR: “All we have to fear is fear itself.”

We are all in this together. In this effort, we are one and we are the same. When it comes to this, there is no “we” or “they.” No “them” or “us.”

Hatred and racism have always been amongst us. They are evil and they kill the human spirit. Hatred and racism have been used to breed divisiveness, disharmony and disunity. Thusly, we can no longer allow hatred and racism to divide Americans along these social, economic and political venues. In today’s world, we need more camaraderie, commitment and compassion. Together, we can make a difference. Sometimes, there is a need for a society of “we,” instead of a society and culture of “me.”

As such, I strongly believe in compromise, sacrifice, fairness, and unity. Together, we can get the job done to improve opportunity and to promote responsibility for all Americans. Our history, culture and heritage speak to this “possibility of circumstance.” We should never allow our partisanship and pettiness to debilitate or destroy us. We have come too far and done too much, together.

Sometimes we must put our country’s overall best interests ahead of our party affiliations and individual differences. Sometimes, we must strive for the common good, general welfare and more perfect union.

We have the capacity to make significant headway towards that more perfect union and for the overall common good. United as One in spirit and solidarity..epitomizing the concept of “e pluribus unum.”

By our thoughts, words and actions, we can achieve a better condition and improved future for all Americans. True, it will be challenging and vexing, but if we put our hearts, minds and backs into it, we can accomplish this.

We can do all of this, because we are Americans. We have the capacity to overcome any obstacles in our path. Now is the time to put in the hard and smart work. Now is the time and place to just do it.

John L. Horton is a resident of Norfolk and a frequent contributor to this newspaper.

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