It is an understatement to say we faced a variety of hardships in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic wrought challenges on all of us globally, across the U.S. and here locally in Denton County. It affected us in many ways – personally, professionally and even politically.
While many of us come from different political spectrums, it is important to remember we are all in this together – side by side – as we struggle and surmount the issues before us.
A passage from one of President Abraham Lincoln’s many memorable speeches comes to mind. In this one, given in 1838 in Springfield, Ill., he warns of a destructive force from within that could undercut the political system established by the Founding Fathers.
“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?
“I answer. If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”
This message conveys a tone that rings as true today as it did 182 years ago. Let me repeat Lincoln’s point for emphasis: What challenges us is not so much destruction abroad as destruction from within.
At a time when political division reigns supreme, it behooves us to remember we are all U.S. citizens, fellow residents, even neighbors.
A pandemic the likes of which no one presently living has ever experienced pushed us beyond our personal limits. Our opinions now differ on everything from how it happened to how it ends. We even differ on the term “pandemic.”
Those differences make our country unique and unlike any government in the world. These differences also carry the preeminent potential for our downfall, as Lincoln’s prophetic words point out.
As we enter this New Year, we can agree to disagree yet still achieve the longstanding unity our citizenship affords us.
While technology has been a great resource for us all here in 2020, my hope for 2021 is that we all find an opportunity to potentially disconnect and unplug from technology in order to personally reconnect with each other when the time is right and the pandemic, for the most part, has passed. We need to re-establish torn ties and forge new friendships, particularly those with whom we disagree.
Our differences should become a rallying point from which we learn about each other and ourselves.
I challenge everyone to connect and engage with local organizations that allow us to work together towards a common goal. Denton County is blessed with numerous civic, social and religious organizations such as Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary and other similar organizations that offer opportunities to address collective issues such as stopping polio or helping children access healthcare. Join a nonprofit to assist a neighbor in need.
We must reach across the aisle, shake hands and, together, continue our mission as citizens of the greatest nation ever known to humankind.
Together, we can accomplish far more than separately. As 2020 comes to an end, let us be mindful of the hundreds of our fellow Denton County residents who have died from Covid-19, the thousands who were afflicted, and the families and healthcare workers who cared for them.
Let 2021 be the year we reunite as one people, one nation.
Denton County Judge Andy Eads can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 940-349-2820.