By Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama
President Obama often says that “if you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”
It’s not always easy. It’s far from guaranteed that you will be able to make as much progress as you want. There are days when we’re reminded so clearly that we have not yet reached our destination, and that is why we have to work every day to treat our fellow citizens with dignity and civility.
The culture that we’re creating and the interactions we have with our fellow citizens each day are influenced by those who we elect to represent us.
When we elect people who continually demean others — those of another race, or religion, or gender, or identity, or sexual orientation — and reach for an America in the past instead of one in the future, the results hurt us all.
That’s not who we are — and we can’t ever stop saying so.
Voting isn’t a magic and immediate solution to every problem we face.
Fixing this will take a willingness to listen and respect one another. It will take a level of empathy towards people who have different opinions than our own, and an effort to understand why they ended up feeling the way they do.
But here’s where we can start: at the ballot box.
Who we lift up to represent us speaks volumes about whether we treat each other with compassion and civility — and it’s time to demand better.
Our government will be as good as we make it. Say you’ll vote in 2018.