Some of you may have watched the Memorial Day concert on PBS Sunday night. I thought it was incredible. Wonderful music, emotional stories about individuals, an excellent tribute to Colin Powell and beautiful tributes to the military.
But at the end I was left with a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I couldn’t help but compare the actions of the military personnel who had died on behalf of our country with the current state of our country.
My comments aren’t directed at any one person or group of people, any particular political party or any specific issue. I believe none of our veterans who have been lost in the past nearly 250 years in defense of our country died believing they were fighting for a particular issue, agenda or political party. They died believing they were fighting for our country and democracy.
Today it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a political leader at any level who is working for the betterment of our cities, towns, counties, state or country. All seem focused on opposing the other side, working to defeat legislation or proposals from the other side and working on behalf of their own issues with no consideration of compromise. No matter their party, today’s politicians are dedicating their efforts to reelection. Whether collecting massive amounts of money, proposing legislation for a limited group or appealing to the darker side of their constituents they are only looking as far in the future as the next election.
Somehow we must return to the time when we all worked for the benefit of our country and our democracy. It’s OK to disagree how we reach that goal, but we must understand we need to work together as Americans.
I learned long ago neither political party has a monopoly on ignorance or intelligence. We all have something to contribute. We all must be willing to look at and understand what others are saying and we need to realize by working together we can always do more than by working alone.
Nearly one million veterans have died in defense of our country. I believe the divisions found in our country today are the greatest existential threats to our country since the Civil War. If we are unable to return to a time of respect and civility between all of us and work for the benefit of our country, these people will have died in vain.
Tom Jones, Cheyenne
Jones is a former legislator serving Park County