The Preamble to the United States Constitution sets lofty goals:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
It’s time for the country to heal, time for us to come together, or so people have been saying since November when democracy laid what many are calling the biggest egg in American history. As I’ve watched the political events of the past couple of years unfold, at times it’s almost been like watching a bad car wreck in slow motion. The name-calling, finger-wagging retreat from civility and at times, seriousness, can’t be denied no matter which party or candidate you supported or voted for.
President Trump, through his counselor Kellyanne Conway has asked us not to judge him by what comes out of his mouth, but by what’s in his heart. Jesus saw that one coming 2,000 years ago: “A good man” he taught, “brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” For those of you who have made it this far down in my meager attempt to communicate, these words can be found in Luke 6:45. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the mouth is a megaphone. Or, like my parents used to say: A vulgar mouth is the sign of a vulgar heart.
Before you write me off as a Trump-hater, let me assure you that I’m not and hope I never am. However, I am leery of anyone who claims to have the answers for all of society’s problems, which is basically everyone who has or will in the future be a candidate for public office. But, that said, each of us must take responsibility for our words, our actions, our comments and our outrage. The capacity for outrage is like a physical muscle in the sense that it both tires and becomes stronger by being worked. And certainly, the lack of civility by all involved in this presidential campaign worked our capacity for outrage like a Marine drill sergeant. At the end of the day, everyone has a reason to be outraged about something.
So, what to do? Here are my suggestions:
Watch our language. Words have started wars, ended friendships, and sunk ships (loose lips sink ships).
Disagree when you must, but don’t be disagreeable. It’s okay to have opinions, but think before you let it rip. What you say and what you post on social media has a long shelf life.
Strive to do your part to form a More Perfect Union. Are you repeating something that may not be true? Do the words you’re about to speak serve any positive purpose? Remember that your words reflect what lives in your heart. Do your words serve to bring about justice, tranquility and good general welfare?
What happened in November is in the rear view mirror. There’s a reason why a rear view mirror is small and a windshield is big. It’s okay to glance in the rear view mirror every occasionally, but don’t stare at it. If you do, you’ll lose sight of where you’re trying to go.
Make the most of every day you’re given. Was a big egg laid in November? Maybe, but just like we’ve always heard “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, the same is true for eggs. I love bacon and eggs.