Between the Lines


Lately I have had an itch. No, not the summer bites from mosquitos or the allergy induced hives we learn to live with here in the South, but a deeper itch. It’s one that no amount of “scratching” relieves. I am itching for us to treat one another better.

I have my beliefs, many of them deep rooted and firm. I will not waiver on my faith or my desire to see positive change and growth in our county. I am also not so arrogant that I can’t see the flaws in other ways I believe. You, too, have just as many personal beliefs that you hold near and dear. And, likely, many of your convictions may not be parallel to mine. And that’s okay.

What I’m scratching away at is the hope that we can unify, not divide, on our differences. Every man and woman who decided the fate of our great nation some 200 plus years ago each held a desire to give us all the right to believe, worship, and exercise our ways of life independent of harsh oversight and scrutiny. It’s the American way, after all.

Over the Fourth of July, I reveled in seeing firework displays and other forms of patriotic behavior across our nation. People, briefly, celebrated together in the common idea that America is great. That greatness comes from the unique and diverse points-of-view that pulsate through the fabric of this society.

I will never hate you for disagreeing with me. I respect your voice and how you arrived at your own conclusions. Those disagreements do not separate us, but rather unite us in a way that is altogether American.

Your ideas, my ideas, their ideas… they all make us valuable and necessary to this democracy. My itch is that we find a way to soothe the collective irritation via working hard, steadfast, and together.

We do not have to agree, or even like another’s perspective, but we do have to respect it. Without someone else’s right to think freely, your opportunity to do so is equally at risk. Not every garden grows roses, but we can certainly reap the harvest of information before us and use it to feed the masses.

Until next week, I hope you find something new here in Blount County. It’s a good old place to call home.