These are very tough times. Is there any need to recite the difficulties facing America. A pandemic response that has been bungled by the Trump administration. Racial inequities that have been exacerbated by the Trump administration.
Worker protections that have been attacked by the Trump administration. An economic crisis that leaves millions of the unemployed and their families without necessary support.
A presidential election whose integrity is threatened by that same Trump administration and foreign interference, as well. In the midst of all these concerns, we have a severely divided populace. It is commonplace to hear comments like “not since the Civil War” have we been so divided. However that may be, we are surely divided now. Over racial justice, wearing masks, policing tactics, immigration, reopening schools and businesses and a full range of hot-button social issues.
The Labor Movement has been adamant that workers and their families are the key to getting the country back on track. It has demanded on-the-job Covid-19 protection and called for sustaining unemployed workers harmed by the pandemic. It calls for sensible, safe, scientific standards for re-opening schools.
Yet, despite what seems evident to us, a furious, sometimes violent opposition exists to the goals we seek. Whether it is based in politics, tribalism, a conspiracy theory or misguided support for demagoguery, it is dangerous. It needs to be defeated. And the best way to counter it may be to address the people who hold these views and to reason with them. Confrontation doesn’t work.
If the Civil War era is the model for our times, than maybe we should consider Lincoln’s words, “with malice toward none with charity for all.” Let’s change minds and attitudes among our opponents remembering that we live in a country that must have a just place for all of us. Educating ourselves and others is critical now. ■