Recently, when I was watching a news update on COVID-19, suddenly one word resounded in my head: “united.” Our nation’s full name is the United States of America. By definition, “unite” means “to put together to form a single unit, to cause to adhere, to link by a legal or moral bond, one or as if one.” And that’s exactly what our forefathers did: formed a national government. States could continue to govern on the issues that were pertinent to them.
Further, our forefathers were concerned about individual rights and freedoms. Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights identified these rights. The people would elect those individuals who would do the governing, and they allowed for changes in policy and laws as needed.
Currently, not only is our nation facing a pandemic, but we also have no “united” methods to deal with it. Rather, there is one view that we should listen to science and another that we have a right to freedom. Certainly we are individuals and have such freedoms, yet we are also citizens: people “owing allegiance to and entitled to reciprocal protection from it.”
As I see it, an aspect of civility is that when our nation faces a crisis, each of us needs to act as a citizen. Of course, we can express our objections to choices made by our government bodies, but we need to abide by their policies. I imagine that all of us accepted the stimulus check that was given to us earlier this year. Others are getting increased unemployment, and businesses have received assistance.
Still, though, some refuse to wear a mask or social distance. Masks are not comfortable. I don’t like them myself, but I wear one proudly as a citizen. Social distancing is even harder, especially because it’s lasting so long. But both will end sooner if we wear masks and social distance.
We can stand together as one nation: the United States of America. Honor united.
Orlaine I. Gabert, Door County Civility Project
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin