I ONCE READ that all countries reach their pinnacle and then begin to decline. I hope this is not so for America, but our political climate would say that it is. Not only a decline but, if we don’t get hold of it, a path for self-destruction. We don’t need to worry about Russian interference, we are doing it to ourselves. How long can we sustain a country where with each election, one half of the country is joyful and the other half is scared?

President-elect Joe Biden says that he is here to unite us and in the same breath pronounces that “America is back!’ What America is he talking about? His words suggest that his plan to unite leaves out the 72 million that voted for the agenda of President Donald Trump.

Our Democratic and Republican parties are tone deaf to the views of the other side. I could never imagine running for office if I only were striving to support one-half of the population, and then only voting my party’s line with no independent thought for myself or my constituents.

Is this the most that voters can expect from our democratic two-party system? Could either 2020 presidential candidate unite our nation?

Although it is impossible to know the truths of what is happening across our country because what is a true fact on one media outlet is an outright lie on another. I believe President Donald Trump has made inroads and done good things for our country. In saying that, I am not a deplorable racist and take offense to being called one. Despite his strengths and unchanging long-standing agenda that many appreciate and believe in, his personality leaves him unable to listen, hear, or compromise with those who do not agree with him. He is energized by the fight while others have been targeted by his rhetoric. His personal attacks have brought on hatred and the media has exhaustingly fanned the flames. It is heard over and over that President Trump lacks character, lies, and lacks human decency, while Democratic leaders have followed suit and done no better. From one who watches hearings and debates, I have been equally appalled by both sides.

Can President-elect Biden accomplish a road to unity? He says so and I hope so, but listening from the perspective of a Republican, the beginning media coverage would suggest not. Will his Cabinet truly represent 145 million voters or 75 million voters? Our system is broken and how can we fix it?

Our education system needs to make sure students understand our democratic system and how it works. Our history needs to be taught according to the facts with emphasis on our continual fight towards equality and love for our country. If we lose our history, we have lost our country. From media coverage, it would seem that many Americans do not believe in American exceptionalism, nor should we be a leader in the world. If we are not the leader, then it’s only human nature that some other country will be....take your pick? This is scary!

Our election system is completely dysfunctional. There is a continual fight about the electoral college. Look at the map, if elections are based on the popular vote then California and New York and other coastal states win the vote and the rest of the country is left out.

The way campaigns are financed is ripe for corruption and the amount of money from special interest groups is appalling. This is especially true when so many dollars are spent on back-to-back media ads with mud-slinging lies about opponents. How gullible do they think the viewers are? Each time I hear how much is spent, I think how arrogant can we be while many of our vulnerable citizens have no voice and no place to live.

I can easily think of ways to have cost-effective elections with candidates who qualify for the job, but putting our heads together on that one would be revolutionary and would likely not support powerful special interest groups.

All elected officials need to take personal responsibility for working together, listening and respecting other viewpoints even when they differ with the party. If we are unwilling to find common ground and build on it, then our nation is done. Our media has summarily failed us and they need an overhaul.

I grew up believing that adults were mature, used their intelligence and common sense, and believed in truth and integrity above all. If we do not make changes quickly, the alternative for our nation is self-destruction. Is it more important to support our current political climate of hatred and divisiveness where neighbor is against neighbor than to save our country? It will take all of us to get it right.

Jan Martin is a retired former head school psychologist and special education director for a large school district. She lives in Hudson.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

FOR YEARS in New Hampshire, shared government held free-market conservative priorities at bay. Now that Republicans control all, the floodgates are open. The results may surprise people who did not realize they were voting for dramatic change.

Monday, November 30, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE’s short story “The Great Stone Face” (bit.ly/3m95irK) was published in Korean middle school language textbooks between 1975 and 1988. The Korean children who grew up reading Hawthorne’s story are now in their 40’s and 50’s. Many of them were devastated to hear about the c…

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

THIS HAS BEEN a year of great loss for our family. My mother passed away at the end of May. She was 84 years old and deeply loved by a very large family. It is never easy to lose our parents; someone whose presence partially defines yours, whose love and support lends a steady guidance to yo…

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

RESTLESSNESS, agitation, irritability and confusion — just a few symptoms of sundowning, a common phenomenon experienced by people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD), where the onset of darkness stirs anxiety. The condition causes those affected to lose their sense of time and …

Monday, November 23, 2020

AMONG MY favorite traditions at Thanksgiving is the part where we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. For this year’s COVID Thanksgiving, there may be a lot fewer people around our table, but my list of what I am thankful for is much longer.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

THANKSGIVING will be a little different this year. We’ll be gathering with family and friends, though probably in smaller groups. We’ll be watching football games played in empty stadiums. And some will be trying to pass the mashed potatoes through Zoom.

Friday, November 20, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020