Now, strive for unity

From an editorial in Wednesday’s (Winston-Salem) Journal:

Depending on how Tuesday night went for you, you are either elated or dejected or somewhere in between.

Here’s the big question: Can we now finally find a way to work together for our common good?

We realize that last sentence is idealistic. But as the man in the 1982 movie “Diner” said, “If you don’t have good dreams, Bagel, you got nightmares.”

Somehow, someway, we have to find our way back to unity as a nation and a state.

President Abraham Lincoln said it best as he closed his first inaugural address:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

We realize he spoke those words on the eve of our disastrous Civil War. Thank God we’re nowhere close to that. But in Lincoln’s timeless wisdom, those classic words ring true today, especially the ones about our “mystic chords of memory.” We have as a nation been through hell and back together, from our fight for independence, through that Civil War, and right on through our current war against terrorism.

We’re still the greatest democracy the world has ever known. We clearly differ about how to carry out that democracy. Spirited debate in our election cycles is as old as our republic. So In this country, our sacred Constitution rightly guarantees us the right to freely speak our minds.

But on our best days after elections are done, we find a way to move forward together. Anything less is a betrayal of all who came before us.