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Local Voices: What Americans Can Do To Overcome Hate, Racism, Anger and Fear

By John L. Horton

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

Personally, and firstly, I give thanks for being a citizen of the United States. I give thanks to all those whose backs and shoulders that I have stood and built upon all this time.
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.

Despite sometimes demagogic behaviors and xenophobic attitudes, there has been a mostly positive renaissance in America in (overall) terms of the economy, education, empowerment and equality of her peoples. 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. All in all, America is still great because she indefatigably promotes inspiration and consistently defeats alienation.

There are some who want to take our country back to the “good old days,” whatever that means for them. When it comes to the “critics and naysayers,” we can become Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena”: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who spends himself in a worthy cause … and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

We need to go forward … not backward, for our America is still growing and is futuristic. We need to build bridges … not walls. We need to climb upward … not fall downward. We need to progress … not regress. We need to germinate … not contaminate.

We must believe in ourselves … and in each other … if we fail … our America fails. And, in this circumstance, failure is not an option.

We are at the precipice of what could be … what can be … and what should be. Let us not falter. Let us do what needs to be done for America and the world.

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.

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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.

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. Thank God, we are Americans. We have the capacity to overcome any obstacles in our path.

John L. Horton is a frequent contributor to this newspaper.

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