How will we explain to our children or grandchildren the horrific events that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th? That’s a question we should all be asking ourselves after our nation’s Capitol building was overtaken by a lawless mob.
I am writing this op-ed with the hope that those reading it will consider that although we live in the greatest nation in the world, we are standing at a dangerous precipice that we must carefully back away from.
As a country we’ve become angrier, more divided – and ultimately weaker. We are less tolerant of others and their beliefs, have put up walls of discrimination and hatred, and sadly have forgotten what brought this country together in the first place: UNITY – United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
Those words were written in a pre-Revolutionary War song from 1768, “The Liberty Song,” by one of our founding fathers, John Dickinson. In the song he wrote:
“Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”
What is interesting, though, is that Dickinson was a Continental Congressman known for refusing to sign the Declaration of Independence.
If that happened in today’s political environment, he would have been smeared as a traitor and marginalized or destroyed by his colleagues who put their lives on the line by signing the document.
Dickinson was a constitutional loyalist and an American patriot. But even though he was not a signer of the document that propelled us into war with the British, he resigned his position as a Continental Congressman to become a solider in the Continental Army.
Heather Wilson, a former New Mexico congresswoman and secretary of the Air Force, tweeted a statement concerning the horrendous acts that occurred at the Capitol, which I believe encapsulates the heart and spirit of what our country was founded upon. She wrote, “A mature self-governing country engages passionately and respectfully in healthy debate. We must begin to restore our ability to listen to each other — not listening to refute or to shame but listening to understand with an open mind and the loving hearts of countrymen. As we reflect and engage, each of us must demonstrate through our word and our behavior that those with whom we disagree are not evil and those with whom we agree are not always right.”
For us to move forward with the healing we so desperately need as a nation, our leaders must invoke the spirit of compromise and respect our founding fathers adopted and exhibited as our country moved into revolution.
All Americans, no matter what political party they belong to, must remember that our battle is not amongst ourselves, but with those around the world who want to destroy our freedom and liberty.
The senseless and anarchistic uprising that occurred in our nation’s capital – which should never happen again – didn’t threaten just Democrats or Republicans; it threatened every American who was there to do the work of the people and our American way of life.
Even though Dickinson didn’t join his brothers in signing the Declaration of Independence, he wasn’t their enemy. Ultimately, he united with them, putting his life on the line to fight for our great country’s freedom.
With the 2021 New Mexico legislative session around the corner, our state’s leaders have an amazing opportunity. I implore our legislators, Republicans and Democrats, to lead by example, work hard to put the needs of all New Mexicans first, and show our children that we can unite for the betterment of the Land of Enchantment.
Ryan Cangiolosi is a former chair of the Republican Party of New Mexico and a Navy Reservist.