As we approach the reckoning that is Donald Trump’s presidency let’s focus not on the perversions of America’s common-sense policies toward the U.N., NATO, Russia, China and Israel.
Let’s focus intensely instead on Trump’s conscious choice to sow division, to trade in denigration toward a purposeful goal of dismantling of our shared American community. America is, by design, complex and riddled with deep-rooted issues. But Trump has worked the crevices to steal from us the possibility of headway, of keeping at the work to strengthen this union.
While much on our mind, national politics is seldom the domain of this page. And still today our point is not about the policies but about the fever of Trump and ways in which we see that unhealthy heat at work in this community that we love and serve.
While America will be challenged by Trump’s malignant ways, the nation will, we know, come through and, we pray, come through stronger and clearer in resolve. But in small towns like ours the fabric of our connectivity is more intimate and therefore more fragile.
Conscious care must be exerted to preserve and grow that sense of community. It’s fine and good to have a town slogan such as “Big City Access, Small Town Charm.” It is something more to build a town less about charm and more about welcoming and civil discourse. It is something more to nurture a town where political differences are fine and good but don’t devolve into overtly personal wrangles and disdain.
Of course, the current contretemps is video gaming and the gigantic wedge that has been crafted to divide the community — both among citizens and between aspects of the business community. More than gaming, though, is the brutal divide and the hardball battle over a binding vote, petition challenges, and garbage petitions to clog the coming April ballot.
There is something corrosive working right now in aspects of Forest Park’s governance. We see parallels between this good town and this good nation as we lose track of our unity and don’t understand the fragile nature of shared community.
This nasty current stands in real ways in contrast to the many, many ways in which Forest Park can, at the grassroots, be welcoming, nurturing, loving. We listen to both newcomers and old-timers who see these virtues and treasure them. But something is haywire right now in our body politic and we need to pay attention.
The Review has always believed that its editorial page needed to reflect both the grace of this village and to challenge its sometimes insular ways. We’ve written editorials with a point of view and we’ve welcomed, but too seldom received, letters and comments that clearly but respectfully challenged our viewpoints.
To the extent we have erred on this page in making this battle too personal, we pledge to dial down our own rhetoric in the year ahead — the 100th year that the Review has served this worthy village.
In this Trump moment when civics and civility are being tossed aside, it is imperative that our town rises higher, embraces difference and always respects allies and opponents.