Sen. Josh Stein, Democrat from Wake County, is considered a rising star in the Democratic party. His debate with Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) on the legality, fairness, and the necessity of voting restrictions in North Carolina spanned the final three days of the Senate's 2013 session, culminating in the passage of the most restrictive voting law in the United States, HB 589, which awaits a signature by Gov. Pat McCrory (R). McCrory has said he has not read the legislation but intends to sign it.
Let's remember that it's okay if we disagree. We are not meant to create uniformity in America. Diversity makes us strong.
We do, however, need a process that is truly representative of We the People so that we feel that our voices have been heard. That process is failing us and many Americans from all sides are feeling strangled and fed up. That process must include not only transparency, fair and clean elections, it must include opportunities for the public to be part of the deliberation.
Tragically, we keep going to war with each other over specific policies and we leave the battlefields wounded and bitterly angry with each other. This prevents us from uniting as We the People to restore self-governance.
How about if we focused on improving the representative process? Most people don't feel represented given our current process.
We must learn from the lessons of the past. As Lincoln implored us to do in 1861 in his Inaugural Address, we must be friends, not enemies.
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
We must call on the better angels of our nature and insist on reason, civility, tolerance, compassion and democracy. We must recognize and value each other as We the People. If we are fractured and don't value each other, our governments and corporations will feel no pressure to value us.