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The case for working together

The case for working together The case for working together

Here we are, another week has come and gone. It’s hard to believe that we are already closing in on the holidays. It’s going to be strange for a great many, I am sure.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state and country, people are making plans to celebrate the holidays virtually, to open presents and carve turkeys with family members in front of a computer screen rather than a fireplace.

I’m sure for some that’s actually more welcome than a days long drive across the country to distant California or Florida. Sure, it would be nice to feel some sun and warmth and have a break from this icebox of a state, but the drive and the hustle and bustle can be exhausting, and it can extend for weeks as we celebrate Thanksgiving and then Christmas.

The holidays are always a time of family, of togetherness. It seems strange that despite being so connected through technology, people seem to be more alone than ever before. We have a million different apps to help you find love, find friends or attempt to find meaning.

And yet, people seem so far removed from one another. This election certainly seems to prove that. While all signs point to Joe Biden being our next president, it comes with the nation seemingly split right down the middle.

Biden may have received 79 million votes, but Trump garnered 73 million votes. A closer examination reveals that in many states Trump won far more counties, but failed to secure the urban areas. Here in Wisconsin, Trump dominated in rural communities, yet Biden took Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire and La Crosse.

Unfortunately, this only serves to highlight the divides in this country. Abraham Lincoln gave one of his most famous speeches in 1858, after he had just been nominated as a senator to the state of Illinois by the Republican Party. It’s one of his most famous speeches, and it espouses his views on the future of slavery in this nation.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.”

Those words did little to stem the tide of anger and hate that gave birth to the Civil War just three years later. That war was a terrible, bloody thing, a tragedy and a horror. I pray this country never goes down that path again. I do not think it will, but there is certainly a cultural war going on in this country regarding its future and where people feel we should be going and where we should not be going.

The fact that each president pulled in over 70 million votes is a clear sign their beliefs are not going away anytime soon. But therein lies the beauty of today’s technology - it connects us in ways never dreamed of before.

In 1860, a young man from New York had no way of talking with someone from Georgia, and vice versa. Today we can. If this country is to remain strong and vibrant it will only happen if we talk to one another.

Perhaps that is the best thing this latest election can do - allow us to talk. If we are just willing to talk to the other side, extend a hand in friendship, I suspect we will find out that we have far more in common with each other than we realize. In the end, we’re all in this together.