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Letter: Response to Lessons Learned from National Conventions

I don’t think I learned much that was new from the Republican or Democrat national conventions.  Both clearly represented their core values, and, in very different ways, surpassed my expectations.  The larger questions are which party best represents our Republic and will defend our Constitution, the supreme law and framework of our government.  Which party will best protect our constitutional rights?  To freely speak, work, live, worship, raise our children, care for our elders, respect those who risk and have lost their lives in service to others, and honor our great country?

In order to best answer these critical questions, we must purposefully seek alternate viewpoints with an open mind.  We must thoughtfully form our own opinions through analysis of all available facts, not just from a curated subset of data filtered through groupthink.  Most of us rely on our few favorite platforms to keep up on current events, whether via TV, internet, and decreasingly, newspapers and magazines.  Unfortunately, we are poorly served by our very lopsided partisan media, which has largely abandoned their job to objectively inform in favor of dramatically and dangerously engaging our attention in prejudicial service of one party and their own wallets.

In our short history, Americans abolished the abhorrent practice of slavery when over 400,000 Union soldiers fought to their death to secure justice for all and preserve our nation.  Our country has made tremendous strides forward in ensuring our citizens’ civil and political rights.  Together we can acknowledge this vast progress with gratitude and appreciate our immense good fortune to live in this beautiful young land.  People are far from perfect, and our history and world reflect that fact.  But we must always remember everything that has happened throughout the past of our rising nation—whether shameful or heroic, both sins and blessings—as our history is the forge of our common purpose, as well as our shared identity and integrity as Americans.

We can talk about the many shapes of discrimination, the grace of forgiveness, and the paths to redemption.  We can calmly reason together with respect, not anger, always working toward equal rights and opportunity for all, but with the understanding that equal results can never be mandated within a free society.  We can all consider good news the fact that the US Census reports the 2019 poverty rate is the lowest rate observed since estimates were initially published in 1959.  Then we can work together to build on that success.  We can all agree that blocking emergency room entrances is reprehensible.

I hope we can eventually agree that school choice benefits our children, that zoning decisions are best left to local residents, that justice requires safety, that we must support those who risk all to keep us safe with every tool they need to continually improve in service and mutual safety, and that patriotism can eclipse politics.  There is power in agreement, in peaceful solutions, and in the wisdom that whispers.

They say we can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our response.  Search for the truth, listen to all sides of an argument, separate opinion from fact, and come to your own conclusions with the Golden Rule as a guide.  Be thankful for everything good, often so easily taken for granted.  Bethany’s got it right—Be Kind.  And vote in person.  It’s fun.

Randi Fiorello

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