Inscribed on the fountain at the entrance to NSU are the words “Be the change.” These three simple words, if followed, could help us once again become a nation united instead of this nation of chaos in which we now reside.
We live in a time of anger and political relationships and policies. We are one month away from the election, and our nation is deeply divided. Those on the left are angry about many things, including policies and actions they consider unfair. They are angry that President Trump is in office and may be elected again. Those on the right are angry at the actions and words of those on the left.
Each side blames the other for what some on each side are actually doing. The left claims that Trump is mean-spirited and unkind, while many on that side are participating in mob violence and posting death wishes and harm to the president and his family on social media. Each side has its extremes and its faults, and likewise, each side has valid points that should be addressed.
Even seemingly positive thoughts and phrases – such as the “American Way” and the “American Dream” – are considered unworthy achievements to be desired. These phrases were once bright and shining stars on the horizon for which many here and abroad worked because it meant someone had overcome the odds and succeeded through life’s many trials on the journey. Now, many look at those dreams as a wicked and selfish desire that should be avoided and abandoned. Instead of accepting the challenge to become better and set an example to others, many are angry that success doesn’t come easy. They want everything handed to them without work and without effort.
Many are living in fear that the mob violence will continue, especially if Trump wins re-election next month. Likewise, many are fearful that other will be angry and resort to violence if former Vice President Biden wins. Either way, many will be angry. However, consider this: In actuality, no one can make us angry. Instead, it is our choice. It is possible to be revolutionary and not be destructive or break the laws of the land.
This past weekend, I listened to a presentation by Dallin Oaks, a former attorney and Utah State Supreme Court judge. He taught that in a society such as ours, we have a responsibility to not protest with violence and destruction, and the responsibility to accept the outcome of elections. He continued by saying if we wish changes to be made, it is our duty and responsibility to work to make those changes and educate others of our beliefs and reasons. But we must remember that they, too, have their freedoms of choice, and we must respect that freedom of our neighbors as much as we expect the respect of others toward us. He continued by saying we must proceed peacefully regarding the outcomes of an election and wait until the next election if we, as a nation, want changes to be made.
Abraham Lincoln reminds us there is no grievance that is a fit object of redress of mob law. Redress of grievance by mob is redress by illegal means. We, as Americans, don’t have simply one culture, but as a nation, we are made up of many cultures. However, we have a connection with the Constitution, which must be followed. In other words, if we want change, we must be the change we want to see.
Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and the former director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.