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The vision of our founders and the democratic process have gotten us this far. Our country’s Being has been in better shape culturally, economically, and spiritually, to be sure. As a political evolutionist and a patient progressive, I am ever hopeful that our country will pass the testing of these times.

We are a people of many voices and most, I trust, believe in the American Dream. Ours is a land of equal opportunity, if not equal circumstance. The gap that is growing between the haves and have-nots is straining the very heart (literally) of our democracy. We are a people of much resolve and many gifts but struggling with uncertainties and basic human needs.

The differences among us, readily recognized, deserve no prejudice or mere tolerance. They need acceptance and understanding. Ours is a land of encouragement, possibility, and achievement. “We the People” means every citizen in this still far from “more perfect Union” presently lacking equal justice and “domestic tranquility.”

Our Being, I believe, remains a beacon to the world, even and especially in its testing. Some voices being raised may feel dangerous and divisive, but they are, constitutionally, thoroughly American and should be heard. “We the People” empowers all of us to respond.

It is impossible to Be without Becoming. The choices we make and what happens in the world around us inexorably moves us forward. The process is not always comfortable. Dissident voices are important. They force the status quo to examine itself, to deal with questions needing answers that can help to fix what is broken or make what is good better. And in time of crisis, those voices urge us all to “circle the wagons” or “stay the course” while growing through the challenge.

Between now and November the dissent among us prompts the question, “What are we Becoming?” Where we are includes all of where we came from. Where do we want to take it? To honor our past and the vision of our Founding Fathers, we need to Become better than we are; we need to voice choices that can affirm a country that has an open heart, nurtures attainable dreams, and provides “liberty and justice for all.”