1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. – Psalm 133

I remember sitting in front of a television in November 2016 watching with utter astonishment that the United States of America had elected a non-politician as President.

It was different, for sure.

I thought then that is was an outcry from the American people that they wanted change.

I also believed then, and still do, that Americans voted more against Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump.

Every four years, politics asks us the same question: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Some of us would say individually, “yes.”

Some of the things I’ve seen that I thought I would never see is gas prices below $2 per gallon. Pre-pandemic unemployment rates have been historically low.

I believe our defenses are stronger.

During my time in the military, I always knew what political party was in power even if I didn’t know who the President was.

I’ve heard individuals locally say that their stock portfolios have never been better.

But what price have we paid for the good?

We are suffering in not only equality, but in equity regarding race and in some cases gender.

We have boxed ourselves in with the lines that divide us. As I’ve written before, those lines include Red vs. Blue, wearing masks which has evolved into vaccine or no.

Now we are using the U.S. Constitution to divide ourselves.

We have the rights to speak and assemble freely. We have the rights to bear our own arms. We have the rights to pursue our own happiness.

I think sometimes we confuse rights with guarantees.

We are not promised the American Dream. We are promised the right to attempt to attain it.

Law-abiding citizens are afforded the right to possess firearms, not those who commit felonies or certain misdemeanors.

As U.S. Senator John Boozman writes on this page, “The Constitution gives every American the right to peaceably assemble and protest. It does not condone or provide for opportunities to sow chaos or provoke insurrection.”

The price for this division is turmoil, violence and ultimately demise. We have displayed symptoms of the first two. Will we get to the third?

The shoe has shifted to the other foot to where nations that we have scolded, warned and sanctioned against their own internal strife have now spoke out against the unnecessary embarrassment of Wednesday.

If I was to shift to a sports analogy, we are the trying to keep our Super Bowl winning streak alive, but we can’t stop fighting with each other on the sidelines.

It’s probably a better analogy to say we are fighting in the huddle.

And we love to lay blame.

Some blame Trump. Some blame certain fanatic groups.

Some blame the media.

As a media member, I can’t say that we didn’t have a hand in some of this. I have worked extremely hard to make sure that what the Batesville Guard reports is accurate and factual. I rarely cite anonymous sources when reporting what we call hard news.

There are local media outlets in Arkansas that have reporters who have refused to cover local events because those events didn’t align with their personal political views, and that is absolutely wrong.

But that doesn’t mean that every time Donald Trump cries “fake news” that he’s correct.

As a consumer of news, which is obviously in more demand that it has ever been, do research. I urge you to get your news and information from multiple sources, have an open mind that doesn’t adhere to only opinions and feed into conspiracy theories.

I’m afraid to believe that we aren’t the greatest country in the world anymore, but we can be.

Liberty is absolutely an ingredient to the recipe of American greatness, as is hard work, and the values of a higher power whether you align as Christian, Muslim or any other religion.

But so is equality, equity, empathy and love.

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