Kudos to Craig Freshley (“Maine Voices: A nation divided by the stories we believe,” Nov. 9). I am reading Colin Woodard’s “American Nations.” I highly recommend it, as it discusses the origins of the divisions in the USA.

We have choices in life. Now seems to be an especially important time for our country. We who are in this country must choose how to go forward.

If we want to remain divided, we don’t need to do much – we’re pretty much already there. If we want to be united, or at least less divided, we must make other choices. They will not be easy.

We can choose to listen to one another, instead of just to those who agree with us. We can choose not to dismiss people who hold ideas different from our own. We do not have to agree with those ideas, but we should consider them. We can choose not to be angry.

We teach our children to share, to care and not to bully, but what do we (and our children) see a great deal of in our government and in our lives? Bullying, greed, selfishness, anger. At all levels and on all sides, not everywhere, but widespread over the country.

One relatively nonpartisan way to go forward would be to use language that is less divisive. We don’t often think about the words we use, let alone think before we speak. When we categorize what we are talking about, we are inherently being divisive.


But when we talk about the “radical left” or “radical right,” we divide ourselves. Why do we identify people as Black, Latinx, Asian, white, LGBTQIA, heterosexual, evangelical, fundamentalist, Catholic, Quaker, Protestant, Hindu, atheist, Buddhist, “haves and have-nots,” “the 1 percent,” “thugs,” “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” “blue staters” or “red staters”? (Or any of hundreds of other terms.) Sometimes these labels are necessary. Sometimes they are important, but often they are not, and they serve mostly to raise the hackles of the “different” groups.

The country must find a way to talk about issues and move forward together to solve problems. If whoever is in control of the government tries to impose their agenda on the country, we will never move toward solutions. Inevitably, someone with a different agenda will be in control and will try to impose their agenda.

Tit-for-tat government will not work. This looks only at the short term, and there are many aspects of our lives for which the country needs to plan long term. We can veer between two very different paths, or we can seek to come together to find a path that most, if not all, can support.

A second way would be to to have a nonpartisan (if there can be such a thing) commission to provide lists of qualified candidates for various federally appointed and congressionally approved government posts. Nominees would have to be from the list for each position. A nominee for a position would have to be made within, say, three months of a vacancy, with an acting head in the interim appointed from within the agency that has the vacancy.

Another would be for all government officials, their representatives and all forms of media to pledge to use less divisive language. Perhaps this would trickle down to the rest of us. It could also trickle up if we, the people, can remind officials when they speak divisively. We can choose not to support media that continue to use divisive language.

We have had several close elections. When it’s very close, the winning “side” needs to acknowledge that it was close. We need to acknowledge the results and that, no matter how people vote (mail, in person, early, absentee), there is no evidence of massive voter fraud. Voting is a central way in which we, the people, have a say in our government. It behooves us to make sure that as many citizens as possible have an easy path to voting, instead of making it hard to vote, so that we can all feel that we are participants in this endeavor we call The United States of America.

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