Politics is a polarizing sport that pits one side against the other, and there is a lot of mudslinging going on, which is tragically amplified by the mainstream media. The current state of the United States is accompanied by a series of negative feelings, including anger, distrust and resentment; yet, as the Thanksgiving holiday season draws closer, I can’t help but think of the positive elements of our country. Is there anything good left? Are we not looking hard enough for it?

The Democratic and Republican parties have both competed to the best of their abilities, debating ideas, policies and the current state of the United States. Each side did its best, and although neither the left nor the right will accept the other, I’m calling on all Americans to set aside our political and ideological differences and search for the positive qualities that exist in one another. This is a step toward bringing our nation together and putting an end to the tribalism that has kept us apart in ways that this country has not seen in over a century.

Taking the initiative to seek the kindness in folks, no matter their ideological views, can serve as a reminder that humanity can be found even in those who are different from us. It enables all of us to take a moment to reflect and acknowledge that the other person is not an adversary or an enemy, but rather a fellow citizen of the United States. It’s possible that we won’t agree on a lot of things; in fact, it’s possible that we won’t agree on anything at all. Yet, there is one thing on which we must never disagree: the idea of America. The principles of independence, liberty and individualism that have helped to establish the United States as a great example of opportunity and hope for people in other parts of the world.

Politicians, celebrities and the wealthy incur much criticism for their remarks and acts. Undoubtedly, some of it is justified, but the hatred that arises from their adversaries is unjustified. Even among those we perceive to be evil, we must search for the positive. No one is so depraved that every step they take on earth is laden with greed and corruption. When the husband of Nancy Pelosi was viciously assaulted, we should have prayed for him and for her, not propagated falsehoods and acted as if the crime was justifiable. When Donald Trump and Joe Biden contracted COVID, we should have prayed for their recovery rather than longed for their demise. And when a politician sends us a message of optimism wishing us health and happiness, we should embrace it and carry it forward.

Freedom, that which is safeguarded and guaranteed by the Constitution, is the greatest gift that anyone could ever hope to receive, and we have all inherited it. We must do all in our power to preserve the protections that enable us to publicly disagree with one another to such an extreme degree and to publicly question one another. These experiences instill in us the significance of seeing beyond ourselves to people who are distinct from us and recognizing that, despite our differences, we are all Americans who want the best for our own lives, the lives of our families and the communities in which we live. During heated political elections, accomplishing that goal can feel like an uphill battle at times. When both Democrats and Republicans view each other as adversaries, and when we’re persuaded to believe that we’re so far apart from one another that we can’t share this country together, that is when we need to realize that we have a problem.

We have to learn to take things more slowly and cultivate an interest in discovering the good in one another. The fact that every one of us values our own families so highly is indicative of a set of admirable attributes that we are all able to acknowledge as being inherently good. Could it also be the case that, despite the fact that we are all so unique, we each have the best of intentions? Could we join in that idea and even come together to fight to preserve the individual liberties of each person? The vast majority of us simply want to safeguard our way of being, which is, at its core, what each and every one of us wants and desires; therefore, it is possible for us to do so. It’s possible that we’re all looking for the same thing, including a high quality of life, success, independence and happiness, as well as the opportunity to age in serenity within communities that are at peace with one another. Both Democrats and Republicans, in my opinion, would provide an unequivocal affirmative response to those desires. I’m ready to bet on that.

Take some time this Thanksgiving to not just have a casual conversation with a family member, neighbor or friend who may have a different point of view, but rather to learn about their inner desires because that is a moment of truth that reveals the good that is in each of us. Take a step back and watch how a person interacts with other people, both in how they speak to them and how they treat them. In any event, you should take a step back and give yourself the opportunity to separate the political from what very well may be a large number of good people who, at their core, may desire the same things that you do. The difference may come down to the vehicle you seek to choose in order to arrive at that final destination, and that should no longer be something that divides us.

To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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