Credit: George Danby

If you think this article will be paragraph after paragraph of vitriolic dogma about how our country is going to hell because of our president, you will be disappointed. If you are expecting an unenlightened endorsement of everything Trump, you’ll also be let down. I am here to say many of our outspoken people in the news, in entertainment and the general public, on all sides of the political spectrum, are not making America great again. Not even close.

As a teacher of middle school students, I want to apologize to them for the behaviors of many of our adult leaders, public figures and media. I expect my students, at the ages of 11 and 12, to have black and white views about everything (if they have developed “views” at all yet). Part of the DNA of a teenager is to develop a world view and, out of insecurity, fail to explore opposing ones, but I cringe when I see this same rigidity among adults.

I am not here to say you should not support the political views you believe are important. This is a privilege of being an American. It’s important to know the issues at stake in our governmental actions and to lobby for changes we believe should be incorporated. What I am questioning is the way many on all sides of political issues are making their statement.

As I read my social media feeds, I am saddened to sense such hatred and bitterness on all sides. I wonder if this is the frog in the kettle scenario — the hatred and bitterness have creeped up so gradually many do not realize it’s killing them. The anger, the venom, the intolerance of those who do not hold our same views has become the norm. These things do not make America great; it makes us an easy target.

A wise man once said, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” ( Mark 3:25), and this is the very thing that endangers our country. The words of Founding Father John Dickinson state, “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall,” and the truth of this statement scares me.

What precedents of acceptable public behavior are we making? What type of role models are we for the next generations? What has happened to common courtesy and kindness? We preach tolerance but I see little of it — unless you are on my side of the issues.

In my grief and sorrow over what I see in our country, I have considered what it might take to unify our country again and it terrifies me. What will it take to bring back reasonable behavior between those with opposing views? What sort of horrific thing will be necessary to grab our attention and bring back graciousness and mutual respect? I do not know the answer to this but I know respect is not a result of making others fearful. It cannot exist when one human being treats another in degrading ways. The one who “wins” is not the one with the biggest mouth.

The meek truly do inherit the earth. Let he who has ears to hear, hear!

Susan Grant of Harrington is a middle school teacher.