by Valerie Jarrett –
Former President Barack 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. 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.
We have a responsibility to demand better of our elected officials. 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.
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 can only be as good as we make it.
Valerie Jarrett served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.