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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

OPINION:

A week before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. told performer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte he was worried that he was integrating Black Americans “into a burning house.” In retrospect, 54 years later, King was right. The racially charged fires that brought forth the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s smolder today. Sadly, there are many people in our nation who hope to reignite those flames of racial division.

What is happening within our country? Many of our schools no longer focus on academics and instead inject divisive politics into classrooms. Our young people are often taught to hate America during the teaching day. Many governors and mayors openly vilify their own police departments and cut budgets for public protection while violent crime rates soar within their own communities. “Woke” cancel culture activists are turning our workplaces into political battle zones — forcing people out of their jobs, denying people the ability to provide for themselves or their families over simple differences of opinion.


Nearly 80% of the American people now believe this nation is on the wrong track, headed in the wrong direction, with many of our government leaders focusing on divisive issues that are clearly not a priority for the majority of the American people.

Despite these disastrous trends, an overwhelming majority of the American people hold a strong, core belief that America is a great nation, with its flaws yes, but still one of the greatest lands of opportunity and prosperity in history. What is the American spirit? It is the belief that through handwork, faith and a strong commitment to self and one’s community — anything is possible. We certainly acknowledge that America is not perfect — no nation is. America is a young country with a troubled past, but indiscriminately attacking one another based on our past history or skin color is certainly no solution.

It’s time to end the politics of division and racial unrest in America, which is why I am proud to be a national director of Our America — a new, national organization that formed to say — enough is enough! The pro-American majority in our nation will be silenced no longer.

America must restore public education and refocus priorities on delivering high academic outcomes — not teach children to distrust each other over the color of their skin. It’s time to honor, respect and support law enforcement and acknowledge the difficult jobs they have in protecting law-abiding citizens. It’s time to end these senseless, baseless attacks on America as a nation, and restore mutual respect and civility to our conversations with each other — especially regarding controversial issues. It’s time to end cancel-culture practices in the workplace.

This country offers citizens of every background, creed and religion the opportunity to pursue happiness and enjoy a prosperous, fruitful life. It’s time for Our America to bring that message to the forefront of public discourse and boldly reject the radical ideology that sows division and unrest in our communities.

Our America’s vision is clear — we will work toward a time when voicing support for America is no longer a political statement, when respectful, civil discourse replaces shouting, and when standing for this great country is more important than standing against one another. Our mission is to build a broad, diverse coalition of people who support timeless American values that empower everyone to thrive, including equal opportunity, mutual respect and freedom of expression.

Every American should understand how our nation is at a crossroads. The stakes are high, and the erosion of our fundamental liberties and beliefs will not correct itself. What’s more, these problems cannot be fixed though legislation. Laws never change the hearts of men and women. We must take responsibility for ourselves, be accountable for our actions, statements and decisions.

We must unite to reinvigorate the American spirit. We will rise above the cacophonous noise and static from those who seek to divide us and repair the harmonious bonds which unite us. We must relearn to trust one another and express genuine empathy, compassion and goodwill for one another. Through this diligent hard work, we will become better people and reestablish a better nation for us all.

• Barrington Martin II is a former Democratic congressional candidate and current eastern region national director of Our America — find more at joinouramerica.org.


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