I awoke this morning, thinking, “When pessimists pick up a brick, they throw it, but when optimists pick up the same brick, they build something positive and useful.”
There is much in the news as I pen this column about Judge Amy Comey Barrett and her spiritual beliefs. She is an enthusiastic participant in her Roman Catholic faith, and that seems to offend some and frighten others. How is it we’ve come back to this point?
Criticize her for her rulings on the bench. Her political ideology is certainly fair game and open for debate. Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act ... there are many areas of her public, professional and ideological life that can be debated, but I believe there is one area that is off-limits, and that’s her family. And when it comes to her faith, politicians should tread very lightly. Unless her faith is leading her to break the law or have some life view that is so extreme as to be completely out of the American mainstream, which she does not ... her faith should also be off-limits.
How did we get here?
The ideological differences are stretching us to limits that are in danger of tearing apart the very fabric of our nation. I believe our national character is in danger of being scarred forever, and in the process, altering our very way of life. The rational majority of people across the nation must stand up and reject the violence in the streets and political vitriol that is pulling us apart.
Optimistic people do not react this way to ideological differences.
No nation in history has shared, nurtured, and prospered, with such powerful optimism as the United States of America. When people talk about “American Exceptionalism,” I believe we are talking about our optimistic spirit and positive belief in our future. I don’t believe we are smarter or better than other nations, but I am certain that it has always been our optimism in our future that has propelled us into world leadership. I believe the ultimate optimism is our history of faith that has created the foundation of our constitution and is woven tightly into the fabric of our nation.
Scripture speaks of Thomas and how his doubts brought a risen Jesus to his side to proclaim, “Blessed are those who believe but have not seen.”
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, by all accounts, lives the life of a faithful believer and again, it seems to offend some and threaten others. Within 24 hours, her faith has been dragged through the mud and her family criticized. I read an opinion commentator who said it was wrong for her to adopt two children with different skin pigmentation from Haiti, as it caused them some type of psychological damage. Another criticized her for not aborting a child with Down syndrome. Are there no limits? I’ll not comment on her political leanings, but I’ll fervently defend with deep admiration, this judge, and her family for not only practicing but living out their faith.
You can be an optimist and not like the president’s choice. You can be a positive person yet disagree with this nominees’ rulings from the bench, but optimistic people do not try to damage those with whom they disagree. Optimistic people enter debates believing something better will come because of the discussion. Positive people believe that others with differences of opinion can still work together for the betterment of our nation and world. An optimist will not throw bricks, damage other people’s property and physically harm others over ideological differences. When an optimist has a brick in hand, they build something positive and beautiful.
I am confident that rational people on both sides of the political debate can find common ground and return our nation from the brink. I believe in American optimism. But let me assure you that believing in optimism is only half the battle. We must rise together and demand an end to the vitriol that’s tearing us apart. Both extreme sides will stand and point fingers at the other side, but I assure you, it is coming from the extremes on both sides. Those in the extremes will never admit fault, it’s going to take those of us in the middle who believe this nation and our values are worth saving, to rise up without a brick in our hand and say enough is enough.
I believe it will be “American optimism” that will save us. The silent majority of us in the middle must demand more and better from our elected officials. Write your representatives in all branches of government and on both sides of the aisle and tell them enough is enough. Right now, they are only hearing from the extreme pessimists on both sides, and as such, it is the vocal and negative minority that will drive us over the cliff unless we stop them.
I believe in “American optimism.” I believe in the collective “us.”
What will you do today with your brick?
Gary W. Moore is a freelance columnist, speaker, and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!