THE BLOG

On Being an American

06/30/2015 02:24 pm ET | Updated Jun 27, 2016

Respect.

In the last few years this has become a valued commodity.

During the last week there have been decisions made by the Supreme Court as well as government officials that have some elated, others crestfallen. Marriage Equality, Healthcare for All, The Flying of the Civil War Battle Flag...all hot topics that seem to galvanize people strongly on one side or the other.

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In thinking over the decisions last night, I was struck with a feeling of sadness. In looking at the comments made by various politicians and others it would seem as though we were different countries. People from different walks of life were pitted against one another as though we were from separate cultures entirely, totally without regard for one another, totally without recognizing that we have commonalities that tie us together....such as being next door neighbors.

In the days to come, I hope that we can all recognize that no matter the side we take on marriage equality, the ultimate disposition of the Confederate Flag, how we feel about the decision about healthcare for all, to remember something: before our positions on the previously named subjects, before we are northerners or southerners, before we are gay, straight or somewhere in between, before we are Republicans or Democrats, that we are FIRST Americans. The fact that we are Americans is truly the tie that binds....and because of that we all need to show a measure of respect...respect for those who agree with us, and respect for those who do not. Just because someone disagrees with us does not make them a bad person, any more than if someone does agree with us makes them a good one.

No matter the side or sides you take on various issues, we have to remember that we are all Americans first, and because of that we owe it to each other to have respect for one another. Be understanding and compassionate with those who do not agree, and be joyous with those who do...and do it without hate and animosity. It's simply The American Way.

Respect.