Disagree but do it with respect


We like to celebrate America’s heritage as a “melting pot,” a great nation of many nationality and ethnic groups. We must also celebrate that we’re a melting pot of conflicting images about proper ways to express opinions. Debates around Donald Trump’s Inauguration illustrate this.

Representative John Lewis, civil rights giant, says Donald Trump’s election is illegitimate. Trump supporters quickly disagree.

Would “tainted” be a more accurate image? Clearly, one can’t be arrogant about “victory” when his opponent received 3 million more votes. Clearly, conscientious and loyal Americans in our intelligence community have identified compelling evidence of Russian attempts to distort the election’s legitimacy.

Some say such in-fighting has no place on Martin Luther King Day, given King’s image of love. King also preached an image about citizen rights, including the right to disagree, intellectually and symbolically, with conventional ideas.

Some have an image of an inauguration requiring everyone celebrating. But celebrating an inauguration which dis-allows the right of citizens, individually or collectively, to raise their voices in opposition or peaceful demonstration creates an empty image.

It’s time our nation understands that our “melting pot” is more than a diversity of national origin. It’s the celebration that all citizens, once here, may demonstrate forcefully, clearly, responsibly, and respectfully, even when others disagree.

— William A. McCartney


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