Record editorial: The better angels of our nature
Like people all over the country and the world, Summit County residents watched in shock and distress Wednesday as insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the congressional count of the Electoral College vote and leaving a wound in our collective consciousness that won’t soon heal.
They marched to the Capitol after being whipped into a frenzy for months by lies from President Trump and the sycophants seeking his approval about the integrity of the presidential election. Some toted Confederate flags, proudly waving the emblem of treason in one of America’s most venerated halls of liberty. Some carried guns, causing fear that the revolt, which killed five people, could have turned even more deadly than it was. Others vandalized property, showing as much respect for the historic building as for what it represents.
Most of them believed their actions warranted and their cause just. They were, of course, neither. Instead of fighting for American democracy, they — and the people who incited them — tarnished it, to an extent seldom, if ever, seen in modern times. Their actions leave the rest of the country to confront the question of how to restore a semblance of unity in a time of such discord.
In Summit County, we are not entirely immune to some of the dark impulses apparent in Washington on Wednesday and many other parts of the country of late. We can be quick to castigate others, showing little apparent desire to understand the opposing point of view. We sometimes give in to the temptation to brand people who think differently as our enemy. We don’t always model the kind of behavior we’d like our children to emulate.
That seems to be particularly true when interacting with one another online, through social media or, often, in The Park Record’s comment section.
In other ways, though, our community displays many of the virtues needed in Washington and the rest of the country. Our local elected officials, for one, are men and women of character. They are not infallible. But, by and large, they sought public office not for personal gain but because they believe they can be of service to their community and their neighbors.
Our citizenry is engaged, voicing a range of opinions and participating in the public process on issues from development proposals to property taxes to schools to trails. Involvement from residents who are passionate about the place they live makes the community better.
The spirit of philanthropy in Park City, meanwhile, shows that we view helping others as an essential part of who we are and that we are willing to make personal sacrifices in service of the greater good.
In the wake of Wednesday’s events and the ongoing tension in America, let’s seek ways to promote all the things that strengthen our sense of community and minimize the behaviors that diminish it.
Americans in the coming months and years will hopefully attempt to heal the deepening divisions that have come to define the country. In Summit County, we have an opportunity to serve as an example, to show what it looks like when people strive to live up to the better angels of their nature.
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Park City voters by now should have an understanding of the differences between the three mayoral candidates on the primary election ballot.