Guest Column: What unites us is stronger than our differences

For 241 years, we’ve commemorated the Fourth of July as the birthday of our Nation. This day is highly celebrated: fireworks, families & friends enjoying barbeques and parades; and the patriotic colors of red, white and blue, abound. We proudly wave our American flags.

It would appear to an outsider that we are all in solidarity for our country. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today, our nation is more divided than ever. Heated rhetoric has reached the boiling point. Some leaders encourage resistance, by whatever means necessary.

Representative Maxine Waters, California, said “He is not my President, you deny, you disrespect, and you will find there are people that have the courage to take back whatever needs to be taken back by any means necessary: RESIST!” Waters’ phrase, “whatever needs to be taken back” demonstrates the mindset of the “Resist” crowd~ it’s about taking something from someone that they feel entitled to — they feel entitled to the presidency.

Mentally unstable people have taken this message literally. A knife slasher killed two people and badly injured a third in Portland. A deranged shooter gunned down Republican congressmen at baseball practice. These acts were once considered treasonous.

Celebrities like Kathy Griffin flaunts a bloody head of our decapitated President; singer Madonna says to cheers “I’ve often thought of blowing up the White House;” actor Johnny Dep insinuates assassination of Trump.

At town halls on social media, our congressmen are badgered by angry mobs screaming obscenities, delivering scripted directives from national professional activist groups.

More than 30 representatives have received death threats to themselves or their family members in the last two months. You should not have to risk your life to run for public office!

Business owners are reluctant to show political affiliations for fearful of backlash. Arguments erupt on social media, friends are alienated and “unfriended” over politics. Some schoolkids are bullied for supporting Trump.

The new administration is addressing issues that will help most Americans. We have problems like health care, failing infrastructure, tax reform, and fighting terrorism, etc.

Yet, the left responds only with “Resistance.” How is this productive? Modern-day Dems could take a lesson from former President Bill Clinton who reached across the aisle to make compromises and was very successful.

The November election proved that, overall, we are a center-right country. The socialist agenda of the loud minority in coastal cities of the U.S. (San Francisco, New York, etc.) do not represent most in rural communities.

This referendum was proven in recent Republican congressional sweeps in Georgia, Montan and South Carolina.

The bitter strategy of “Resistance” doesn’t speak to the average American just trying to get by.

A recent poll in the NY Times found that 88 percent of Americans want the two parties to work together, and many are disgusted with both parties.

Take the ACA, Obamacare. Americans know this plan is failing, so Republicans want to change it to make it work for Americans, with an emphasis on affordability and coverage of basic needs.

Democrats offer no ideas of bipartisanship on this issue; they just “Oppose” it, if it’s not Obamacare.

How can we come together, as Americans — with civility and respect? We can disagree, but real courage is exemplified by standing with someone you don’t always agree with to benefit our country.

I recently attended a meeting in Hood River opposing the Westside Concept Plan. This plan, if approved, stands to double the population of Hood River by 6,000 people, adding a staggering 2,300 housing units within 450 acres.

I rode to the meeting with a staunch liberal friend and found myself hugging friends and neighbors with whom I disagree with on politics and policy 99 percent of the time. Yet we felt the same about this issue. It was a refreshing example of unity.

Senator Enzi of Wyoming said, “We may disagree on a lot of things, but we can agree on 80 percent of things 80 percent of the time.”

Let’s work together: Whether it’s infrastructure, funding for roads and bridges; better education with more money for our classrooms (without raising taxes); health care that’s truly affordable and covers what we individually need; and locally working on sensible development planned with infrastructure in place in advance to support it.

Though we have our differences, what unites us is so much stronger, the love of our country. Can we find common ground, and even better: higher ground?

— Kris Wilhelm is a concerned Mom, Hospital Clinician, Rancher & Activist/Founder of "Reds in The Hood.”

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