For the past four years the President of the United States has done his best to divide us. He has encouraged white supremacists, separated immigrant children from their parents, failed to take actions that would have reduced the severity of the coronavirus, worked to suppress voters, turned back environmental protections, and lied incessantly. He has brought out the worst in all of us. He has encouraged his supporters to hate the Democrats, the media, non-white people, and anyone who disagrees with him. In doing all of this he has created in those who do not support him a depth of hatred for him that they have never felt for another human being. And both supporters and non-supporters assign characteristics to “the other side” that are non-flattering to say the least. As a country we are perhaps more divided now than any time since the Civil War.

We cannot continue on this path and be successful as a nation. Our respect for one another is in deep decline. Our democracy is falling apart at the seams. The coronavirus is amplifying our problems when we should be coming together to defeat it. Environmental disasters are occurring at a greater frequency and with greater destruction. We are on a downward spiral.

We need to turn this around. We need to begin a process of healing, of caring about each other, of respecting each other, of being less selfish, of hating less and loving more. We need a federal government that works for the people, not one that can’t even pass legislation that will help the neediest during the worst pandemic in our lifetimes. The division in our Congress is so strong that nothing useful is happening at a time when we need it most. Our trust in government to help us is extraordinarily low. Clearly this needs to change. Our elected officials need to care more about us than they do about building their own power. They need to care more about us than they do about their big money donors. They need to work together, to compromise, to build a system of government that is of the people, by the people and for the people. We need to reaffirm our basic values as a country and fix the systems that are causing our representatives to act in ways that are inconsistent with our basic needs. This must be the first priority of a new Congress, of a new President.

We need some time for healing, for re-building broken relationships, for remembering to care about each other, for building trust in our critical societal needs of a working government, a free press, and a functioning democracy. We need to move forward, not backward. Our country’s future depends on this, and it is up to all of us to make it happen.

Computer Scientist, Researcher, Systems Thinker and Leader of Reclaim Our Democracy group: