In a tweet, outgoing vice-president, Mike Pence, said, “My fellow Americans, we’ve been through a lot this past year, but through it all, I have seen the strength and resilience of the American people shine forth.”
Inspiring words and I’ve no doubt President-Elect Joe Biden will say something similarly inspirational tomorrow about the importance of unification. However, we need more than inspiration. A call for unity isn’t enough without all of us taking part in the process, all of us demonstrating strength and resilience.
I’ve been writing and speaking on ethics for more than 20 years and at every event, after every talk, someone comes up to me and says, “Your talk could not be more timely.”
Looking past the immediate hate, division, and need for acceptance, the thing that we have most been affected by is the loss of trust — trust in institutions, trust in the truth, trust in each other.
I am not saying that ethics alone can solve all our problems. It can’t. However, if we can try to be more civil toward each other; if we can look upon responsibility as a duty to watch what we say and how we act toward each other; if we can try to be honest with each other, acting from principle rather than agenda, we can begin to regain the trust we lost and need more than ever.
Let’s try to see ourselves in another. One of the most important things in life is interacting with others. Let’s look for ways to improve the quality of those interactions.
Let’s try to let go of the need to question everything.
Let’s try to be open to clear, objective, verifiable, non-partisan truth – the truth that helps us all move forward.
Let’s embrace the inviolability of the American spirit and the dignity deserved by all individuals.
Let’s try to practice the kind of civic duty that extends beyond our self-interests recognizing our obligation to contribute to the public good.
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools.”
Tomorrow, we observe the inauguration of a new president, but let’s celebrate a new beginning where we strive to live out the words of Dr. King.
What lies ahead is going to be demanding for us as individuals as well as a country. Trust is the most difficult of values to rebuild. Let’s try anyway.
I will return Monday, January 25th.