Helping to unify America

A new day has dawned in America, and it is time for all of us to set aside our differences and move forward together, as one nation, no longer divided by politics and anger but united by a determination for our country to, in fact, be great again.

In his inaugural address, President Donald Trump called for that unity, promising to represent all Americans as he works to make the United States “strong, wealthy, proud and safe,” for every person who lives from “mountain to mountain, ocean to ocean” in our great land.

But he cannot do it alone. Trump has taken the initial step now, attempting in his first address to a strongly divided nation to unify us all once again.

Today it is our turn.

Whether we voted for Trump or not; whether we like him or even agree with his general philosophy, he is now our president and we should respect the office he holds and allow him the opportunity to do the things he has promised. Even as we hold him accountable for the powerful words he used Friday to begin the healing of a country broken by political rhetoric, bureaucracy, prejudices and economics, we should give him time to lead.

If we believe in our country; if we want our country to be strong; if want our people to prosper; if we want our country to truly be united, we must work toward that unity, pledging not to hold grudges or work against the new president, but work with him toward a greater American.

That doesn’t mean bowing to his every whim. We must hold him accountable, we must call him to answer for missteps or actions that don’t reflect the unifying spirit he pledge to on Friday.

As Trump, himself, said, we should speak our minds openly and disagree honestly, but we must always pursue solidarity, because “when we are united, America is totally unstoppable.”

He is right.

Somehow we’ve forgotten that it is OK to disagree, that it is OK to have other opinions, but that a disagreement does not mean we are prejudiced against another. Somehow we’ve forgotten that, as Trump said, we are all Americans and that no matter our color — white, black, brown — we all bleed red. And we believe he is correct in his assertion that when Americans open their heart to patriotism, “there is no room for prejudice.”

There should be no room for prejudices as we move forward, but we cannot get there if we first don’t lay down our verbal arms, our desire to gloat or pout (depending on which party wins the land’s highest office) and our bend toward judging people who don’t think like we do, look like we do or believe like we do.

Trump said Friday that this United States is our country, that the transfer of power is being returned to the American people.

In so doing, the president is passing the torch. The responsibility is now as much ours as his to do everything in our power to make America great again, from the youngest to the oldest, richest to the poorest.

To do that means we must work together, embracing our differences even as we work to find common ground.

Trump has pledged his allegiance to all the people of America; we hope America can now work to return that allegiance to his presidency.