Greetings and good morning from the western mountains of Maine, where light snow means the color, not the depth, as we are once again about to discover.

I write with COVID Year-Two almost behind us. A year in which I hope we observed much and learned more, although I fear it may be the opposite.

By now we should have learned the value of vaccinations, social distancing and yes, masks. By now we also should have realized the people manipulating our public and private discourse around COVID and many other sensitive topics often live far away, outside the country.

As we leave 2021 behind and focus on the new year and beyond, we should endeavor to not let any of our neighbors be perceived or even imagined to be “the enemy”. The historic, and I truly hope, timeless strength of America is community, which is built on those dedicated to the service of others: volunteer fire, rescue and first responders; boards of education, local health officials, local election officials and yes, elected officials. Now, tragically, our communities are endangered by unwitting agents of those who seek to erode our democracy by dividing our communities and pitting us against one another.

I have been blessed not just by a career that has taken me to many countries and cultures, but also by my good fortune to have traveled and worked in every one of the 50 states and almost all of the territories. I have experienced first-hand the common decency and boundless curiosity in our people. I have seen Americans holding entirely opposing points of view welcome young canvassers into their home, offering them coffee or something to eat, taking the time to listen but not necessarily changing their positions or their vote.

This great nation has faced many challenges, both from abroad and from within. This newest challenge demands that we unite against external manipulation and treat each other with respect and civility, because unity is our most powerful weapon against forces that hope to break down the democratic principles that define us.  We don’t need to agree on all matters, but let’s stick together. Only when our country is united can we successfully tackle the issues that will determine the fate of our freedoms and become once again what President Reagan called “that shining city on the hill”.

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In the meantime, I hope the new year finds you, your family and friends with all the health and happiness you desire.

Stay safe and healthy.

Flatten the curve (Get the JAB and the Booster),
Cheers,
John
Bridge the Divide