“I tremble for my country…”
When Thomas Jefferson wrote those words in ‘Notes on the State of Virginia,’ he was thinking of the threat to national unity caused by slavery. He feared that divisions and anger resulting from allowing such evil could only grow until human bondage stopped. He was right to worry. The end only came after four years of civil war and millions of deaths.
I tremble for the nation when I read letters such as the one that recently appeared in The Courier-Herald (Jon Buss, Aug. 25 Letters to the Editor). It was a letter to the editor charging Americans who register or vote for one of the two major political parties as being against America, wanting to protect their criminal friends and families and disrupt domestic life.
Three times in just four sentences, the letter described these fellow citizens as psychopaths. Psychopaths are egocentric, antisocial, incapable of guilt, unable to feel empathy and often criminals.
To make sweeping charges against all voters of a party is to political argument what finger painting is to art. Besides being ridiculously broad, it reduces fellow citizens to being only their opinions, not the good, hardworking, thoughtful, patriotic people that make up half the nation, however much we disagree with them.
We should always keep in mind this question from Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address: “How can we love our country and not love our countrymen?”
If we do not remember and practice this, the nation will grow only more divided, and our future is bound to be grim.
Mitchell F. Barker