How New Jersey Will Reach Higher Ground

The day after the Presidential election — two of our children, both teachers in their first year — reported how they spent much of the day consoling students worried about their parents being deported. For me personally, I had so wanted my mother, my wife, and our children to see the nation take a strong stand for opportunity and dignity. I wanted it to reward experience and commitment to public service and to ensure that long fought for rights remained protected.

All people of goodwill should be deeply concerned about what this election has done to the fabric of this diverse nation. All of us should be concerned when large numbers of our children — and all of the children are ours — wake up to the election filled with fear, not hope. And all of us should be committed to healing the rifts and to moving forward together.

I believe we can reach higher ground, but we can only do that if we are clear about the serious obstacles in the road before us.

We must acknowledge the uneven economic progress that has been made since the Great Recession, and recommit ourselves to ensuring that progress is shared by all and is sustainable.

We must end the culture of political self-dealing, cynicism and incompetence in New Jersey and put service to the people above all else.

And we must be willing to listen to and engage with our fellow citizens, regardless of political views or party affiliation, and see in them our common struggles, goals and aspirations.

Our response to this election must not be to further divide our state and country, but rather embrace the richness of our differences and see them as an opportunity to make us stronger. All of us must hope for our nation under the new administration, while at the same time never wavering in defense of the core values that make New Jersey and our country what it is. If we commit to serve each other, to recognize the full consequences of this election and commit to work for the benefit of all of the people of this state, then together we can find not just common ground but also move to higher ground.

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