As we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, I’m inviting readers to join me in recalibrating on aspects of life that bind us together as Americans instead of the many years of focus on our differences. For decades and with good intentions, we have emphasized diversity, often at the expense of our commonality as Americans. The love of God, family and country and even sports used to bring Americans together regardless of background or political affiliation. These institutions are no longer acceptable unifying entities. In fact, these institutions that used to bind us together are now mocked and marginalized and used as instruments of separation.
We are more divided as a country today than I can remember in my adult lifetime. The country is fragmented along lines of ethnicity, gender, economic class and political identity. Last year St. Louis Park City Council tried to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance from its City Council Meetings because members felt the pledge and the flag induced feelings of negativity among the increasing number of immigrants. Instead of reinforcing unwarranted fear of the country and its symbols, we should use these opportunities to remind us all of the virtues of the country and its people. Even though we are the most powerful country in the world, we are also a generous and caring nation.
As we start the new year in this new decade, I’m inviting people in and outside of the Third Congressional District to join our efforts to become the spark that ignites a recommitment to the ties that bind us together. Let’s be an example for the nation in the Third District by putting aside identity politics and realizing Dr. King’s dream. Whether Black or White, Republican or Democrat, male or female, let us show the nation while we are many different colors, woven together we make a beautiful tapestry. No one thrives when we highlight our differences. We thrive when we are unified.
Kendall Qualls is a Republican Candidate for Congress in Minnesota