If there is a common thread that runs though the fabric of our American story, it is that we are a nation that always has aspired to be better.

Our constant self-examination and a willingness to lay bare our shortcomings so they might be corrected has made us unique.

It takes courage to admit when you’ve been wrong, unfair or unjust. America has been rewarded for that courage time and again by allies who not only look to us for friendship and leadership, but who have stood with us in our own crises.

So, how did we get here?

What’s going on is much bigger than the upcoming election or who’s sitting on the Supreme Court.

It’s now about deciding which kind of America we want to be.

We’ve always been brash. Our youth is evident. But rather than our American can-do optimism and fearlessness, we’re becoming phobic, insular and willfully ignorant.

The fabric is fraying as we throw civility out with the bath water, as the dialogue so necessary for a healthy republic is being deluged by misinformation, because to win justifies the means.
The precipice

Anger has become a commodity, fed constantly by demagogues who have monetized and weaponized what it means to be an American.

The inherent influence of money has poisoned a process that was supposed to be the domain of ordinary citizens. As some people misuse their wealth and power with impunity and hypocrisy, it has rendered those who have neither with a feeling of helplessness.

Add to it all the enemies without, doing all they can to sustain the fighting within.

It has been a sorrowful thing to see the country you love teetering at the precipice.

And yet ...

We cannot concede this country’s demise.
Too many debts

It remains in our power to preserve this Great Experiment. We owe it to the millions of people who have given service to this country because they believed America was deserving of their time, faith and talent.

We owe it to America’s critics, those who have pushed, prodded, dared, protested and picketed not because they hate this country but because they love it.

Ambivalence is incompatible with freedom. We owe the debt of participation to those who had the audacity to believe a great country could be even greater; who were sure we were capable of living up to our credo that “all men are created equal.”

Lastly, we have an obligation to the thousands who have died for America, one too large to lose this country to rancor and fratricide.

We stand at a crossroad. Will we continue to drag one another toward the abyss, to come undone, or will we re-embrace those revolutionary ideals that once made us the envy of the world?

— Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com, On Twitter: @cgoshayREP