The American people chose a president last week, yet he alone cannot heal the polarization in our country. It is likely that Democrats will control the House and Republicans the Senate resulting in a gridlock for another four years.

An article in Foreign Affairs dated Nov. 5 by Larry Diamond states, “between 15 and 20% of staunchly liberal and staunchly conservative voters think there could be a ‘great deal’ of justification for violence.” Many people believe this sad state of American politics is caused by a lack of trust in our institutions. Even with swearing in a new president, “American democracy will still be in serious trouble. And only the American people can fix it,” according to the same article. Yet, both parties agree that we need to solve this problem.

So how can we fix it? An article from the Pew Research Center, Trust and Distrust in America, released July 22, 2019, interviewed Americans, and obtained their ideas.

One idea was that Americans engage in efforts to fix problems in their local communities. We saw an example of this in Greenup last month when an apartment building caught fire. Local churches cooperated to provide comfort, household items and found new housing for the victims. Nobody needing help stopped to ask if we were Democrats or Republicans.

Cooperation helps us realize that people in the other party are not demons as they are currently depicted in current political discourse. We need to attack the coronavirus instead of each other. We need transparency in our institutions and produce policies that benefit all and not just a few. In the meantime, we need to quit demonizing each other because they disagree with us and demonstrate to the world how real Americans act through cooperation and civility.

Lew Nicholls


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