Divisiveness Can Be Over, If We Want it

commentary editorial opinion

Be good to yourself, be kind to each other and God bless.

Longtime listeners of the Mary and Natalie Show Friday mornings on WJOL-1340AM will recognize that as the wish that closes each show. One of the hosts will provide that send-off; I’ve been fortunate to do it a couple times.

The one who made it popular was former co-hostess, Lynne Lichtenauer, who passed away of cancer a couple years ago. We all miss her every day, but her words live on.

They are good words not only to close a weekly show, but as we enter a new year. For way too many years now, it’s been tough on a lot of us, personally and as a nation. When I began to spell my high blood pressure medication for a nurse, a young one, at one of my appointments, she said, “Oh, I know how to spell it. I need mine, too.”

The upcoming year looks like it might be another tough one. With everything else that’s going on in people’s lives — and for many I know, that’s a lot — there also is a presidential election. And in many ways, we’re not done with the last one.

If the two leading contenders in each party remain the same, the angst and division that began nearly a decade ago could erupt again.

It doesn’t have to. And for what it’s worth, let’s look at that opening wish for guidance.

Be good to yourself. Doctors, therapists and other wellness professionals will tell you you’re going to be no good to others if you don’t take care of yourself. Even on airplanes, they tell Moms to grab the air nozzle during emergencies before giving it to the babies they’re holding.

Make time for yourself. Read. Relax. Watch a favorite TV show. Listen to music. Exercise. It doesn’t have to be pumping iron or running 5 miles. When I ashamedly told my doctor once I average only 6,000 to 7,000 steps a day and not 10,000, he said that’s 6,000 or 7,000 you DID do.

Be kind to each other. This can be a tough one. Will County Board meeting have gotten so tense and divisive that several members have pleaded with their colleagues to be more respectful and drop the hate.

As a veteran of watching many, many meeting on and off since 1987, this group is the most divided, disrespectful, belligerent I ever have seen.

Even as board members redefined their roles after the county executive system came to be in 1988, the women’s caucus – Republicans and Democrats – would plan outings and other events. One was to the horse racetrack out east in the county, if I remember correctly.

Board members, for the most part, respectfully disagreed with each other back then. And continued to do so until the last decade or so.
Half of the board is up for re-election this year, first in the primary, then in November for the two seats in each of the districts up for grabs. I hope we elect people who seek compromise and not just echo party platforms. The latter doesn’t work in Washington; it doesn’t hold up here, either.

They’re not the only ones. Few seem to care about what happens to others who aren’t like them. Concern or even anger, warranted as it may be in some cases, turns to hate. With hate comes fewer possibilities for compromise and finding suitable answers to tough issues such as the border.

Build a wall? We already have too many walls around each other, folks. We need to find a way to take care of others, while, as I mentioned before, taking care of ourselves. And, another tough one, being open to change.

What I have told my kids for years, and try to do myself, is be a good person, and do good things. Don’t expect anything in return.
Twenty-twenty-four doesn’t have to be any more stressful than what’s going on in our lives. That’s enough.
To you and your families, God bless.

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