There’s been a lot of talk lately about how divisive America has become. This isn’t new in the world; divisiveness is as old as the human race. It’s not new, but it is destructive. Lincoln recognized this a century and a half ago. What is unique, is this experiment called the United States of America. No other country in history has had such progress and success as America. We can thank our founding fathers for constructing a constitution that’s founded on principles of freedom, protection, justice, and truth. If our generation is going to, not only benefit from, but also improve our country, we’ve got to maintain those same principles. They’re not outdated, they’re timeless and are proven through time.

With these constitutional principles in mind, it serves to remind ourselves that:

  1. Just because you don’t agree with someone, doesn’t mean you hate them. What one thinks of someone’s idea or actions really doesn’t serve at all, to tell what they think of them personally, one way or the other. For example, I disagree with about 95% of what my son does or suggests that I do ("Get out of the car!" as we're going 70mph down the highway), yet I love him dearly! I disagree with my wife far less than my son, and I also love her very much. It’s not bigotry, fascism, etc… to exercise one’s right of free speech.

  2. It’s not a problem that someone has different beliefs than you, or that they’re LGBT, or that they do anything else other than what you agree with. That’s the beauty of America, that we have the freedom to make personal choices, within a civilized society of law and order.  All people should be treated equally before the law, plain and simple. If you do bad stuff, you should pay the consequences regardless of who you are. One’s consequences, good or bad, should be based on actions, not identity.

  3. Capitalism is great. If you agree/ disagree with some product/ idea, you can choose not to support it or even freely encourage others to support/ not support that same thing. They can then think about it and then choose whether they agree/ don’t agree with you and choose to support/ not support that same product/ idea and then be on their merry way. (e.g. politics, proselytizing, business, etc.…) The result of such freedom usually leads to good things.      

So much of what divides America today seems to be an attack on one of our basic principles, ones that can be easily taken for granted. If you’ve taken these bedrock principles for granted, it only serves to show how effective these principles have been in constructing the great society we live in (e.g. detachment from the plight of those who don’t have the same recourses afforded to Americans). However, if this is you, please do not continue to take your American heritage for granted. It’s important to remember that ALL Americans have this heritage in common, whether you’ve been a citizen for one day or your family’s been here 500 years, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, religion, disability, age, or any other point of differentiation. It only takes a look through history or across the globe to know that we have something great here, that we need to take the baton and continue to steward this well. America’s definitely not perfect, but we should aim for progression not regression, with our founding principles in mind.

—Derick Dillard