Updated: 1 day ago Posted: 1 day ago
Do you think our country is somehow broken? I do. This Christmas season has found America exhausted and at war with itself. Foreign leaders with hostile interests see such division and anger that they have reason to believe that our citizens and political leaders cannot rally around our President in times of crisis. From Washington, DC to Anchorage, few would dispute the depth of our hostilities and the lack of agreement on anything except how âwe hate the other sideâ. Sadly, we can’t even decide how committed we are to democracy, as many show a preference for autocracy and the use of force to create America in their own image.
Just six days into the start of 2021, our nation’s Capitol was under siege by people who were convinced their country was lost and acted accordingly. And since then, there has been no slowdown in the catastrophic vigilante rhetoric calling for more riots and attacks on freedom to “keep America safe.” If such language only came from a few outliers, that would be less worrying, but it also emanates from some political leaders who align themselves with the most destructive activists.
On September 11, George W. Bush, the president who ruled our country through the terrible days of the terrorist attacks of that day in 2001, delivered a moving memorial address in Shanksville, Pa., At the site of found United Airlines Flight 93. shot down by a group of Americans united in their commitment to stop another attack on our homeland. He gravely cautioned against the forces of division in America: âA malevolent force seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument and every argument into a clash of cultures. Much of our politics has become a naked appeal for anger, fear and resentment. “
The next day, former President Donald Trump lashed out at President Bush on social media, claiming he “ran a failed and uninspiring presidency.” Just a few days ago, he slammed former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview for congratulating President Joe Biden on his election, saying “F *** him”. And on the political left, we have leaders in Congress who regularly use brushstrokes to gravely misrepresent nuanced conservative views, calling them fascist, racist, or worse. With such an example, can we be surprised that our political discourse is so characterized by animosity and reactionary behavior?
Are things very different here at home? Alaska is deeply divided over the leadership of our federal and state government, the Permanent Fund dividend, masks, vaccines and more, with political extremes fighting for dominance and defending positions that further polarize the other side. of the aisle.
A recent comment from the Anchorage Daily News Editorial Board poignantly warned of the dangerous path of political power grab, reminding us that the pendulum swings back and forth – power we so desperately want our political champion. possesses today could bring terror to us tomorrow when a new leader takes his place.
How can we bring healing to our diverse citizens if we have lost the idea of ââreconciliation? It seems that the ability to work together and put grievances aside requires habits of the heart that are no longer formed in us. Do you know of a friendship that can stand up to the absence of forgiveness? I do not. Self-sufficiency, self-centeredness, and self-salvation make us hard on the people we see as losers and, ironically, make us hate ourselves over and over again if we don’t live up to our own standards.
In the Christian tradition, the Christmas season celebrates the greatest act of reconciliation our world will ever know, how God put aside all of His power and personal rights to be reconciled with humanity, to do what we could not. not to do, to repair the breakdown of our state. He didn’t wait for us to come to him. No, he came down to us and became Emmanuel, God with us.
Reconciliation: This is the promise of Christmas. And this is what we desperately need.
Chuck kopp is a longtime Alaskan, former member of the Alaska House of Representatives, and policy consultant.
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