The Mom Stop column: Time to heal divisions that threaten our country
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
A presidential inauguration represents hope for the country’s future, of reverence for its past, and the tradition and pomp that continues from one president to the next.
Of course, nothing in 2020 or 2021 thus far is normal.
But like the new year, there is a promise of change, of a better future, of stability that hopefully lies ahead. And for that, I am grateful.
When the rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, I was working in my kitchen while my 11-year-old daughter played on her iPad, and the news streamed on TV.
I stopped what I was doing and texted my husband to see if he had seen the news, asking when he was going to be home. Suddenly, the world as we know it didn’t seem so safe anymore. I sat with my daughter on our family room sofa and gaped at the TV in disbelief.
“How can they do this?” my daughter asked.
I quietly wondered the same. I did not wonder why - because the spread of misinformation and distrust in the government has become rampant, splitting not just our country but also creating seemingly insurmountable rifts between family and friends. I knew why.
But I could not fathom how insurrectionists were actually able to get inside our country’s most hallowed halls. I prayed for the safety of our elected leaders.
I am thankful things weren’t worse that day.
That day was a day of reckoning for our country - or at least I hope it was, because it woke so many of us out of our imagined bubbles to realize that our safety is in a precarious position, that our revered democracy could quickly disappear, if it’s not protected.
But I could not explain all this to my daughter, who curled up with our boxer dog on the couch. I held her hand, I told her everything would be OK, while hoping that everything actually would be.
And so, with the new year and a new administration, I am hopeful for a stronger future for our country. I pray for peace for the U.S., especially within our own borders. We need healing, for the two political parties to work together for the entire country’s future, not one particular party’s viewpoints. If we want our democracy’s ideals to be a shining example to the world of what free speech and voting rights can bring to a country - we must protect those ideals at home.
I hope that the new administration brings peace and reconciliation, not just for my future or our country’s future, but for the younger generations - like my children.
It is hard to have hope in difficult times or periods of strife, like that of a pandemic. But we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the COVID-19 vaccines, which offer a signal that better times are to come. And for our country, after witnessing an attempted insurrection, I hope our country can come together to heal old wounds, and work together for a better future.
Our democracy depends on it.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at email@example.com.