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Now is the time for all Americans to come together

Eventually our current election will be resolved.

I remember the 1976 presidential election.

Lynnda and I hadn’t been married very long. She was a big Jimmy Carter supporter. I was a Gerald Ford supporter.

She was thrilled when Carter won. I was sick.

When the election was over we moved on, focusing on being a couple and raising a family. That’s what Americans do.

We united on Ronald Reagan.

Elections don’t always go the way we wish. My candidates of choice don’t always win.

We learn to work with the candidates who win. Sometimes things turn out better than planned. Few candidates are as bad as the pictures painted by their opponent during the campaign.

America is unique.

After an election, the elected leaders take office peacefully. Then we need to work together for the common good.

Even when one party has control, like in West Virginia today, it is still important to work with the other party for consensus.

No party has a monopoly on good ideas.

Every officeholder should remember they weren’t elected to work for their party. They were elected by the people and should be thinking of the people when they make decisions.

Political discussions have gone on in America since the founding of our country. They can get heated. In social gatherings I learned as a child, two topics to avoid with a stranger are religion and politics.

Political discourse and debates are part of our decision-making process. Americans rarely all agree. Free speech is an American right. We are allowed and even expected to disagree with our government at times.

Free speech and political discussions make us better if we listen to opposing views. Our diversity can be our biggest strength if we use it. Diversity of ability and thought makes a great team.

We choose our leaders by voting not by rebellion or over throw of the government in a coup. We have peaceful changes in leadership. This is unique in the world. Free elections and free speech are not common in the world. The thought police and censorship bullies whether on a college campus, the internet or in person are dangerous and put our freedom at risk. We may not like to hear opposing views but we can learn from them.

In places like Iran, China and North Korea, there is no politics or free speech. Disagreement with the government on line or speaking out against the government will get you put in prison or worse.

I felt bad for a North Korean engineer a few years ago. He didn’t say anything. He just fell asleep in a government staff meeting and was immediately taken outside and shot.

I wouldn’t have lasted long in corporate America under that rule. President Kim of North Korea probably doesn’t get much disagreement in his staff meetings.

After the heated rhetoric of a political campaign it is up to all Americans to come together and move forward. In a nation this large and diverse we will always have differences. Our country has a lot of problems to solve like COVID 19, creating jobs post pandemic and improving the environment. We can do anything as a nation when we find points of common agreement and work together.

From Shale Crescent USA’s work with people across the country, Americans regardless of politics want to see manufacturing jobs come back to the USA from overseas. Americans were outraged when they learned we were dependent on China and other overseas suppliers for PPE and 80% of our prescription drugs. People need to have hope in the future. In Chicago, a talk show host wanted to know how they could bring manufacturing back to buildings vacated when companies left for Asia. Good jobs give hope. She believes the opportunity for good jobs would give young people hope, helping to end gun violence in Chicago. This isn’t much different than our region. We see good jobs giving people hope and an incentive to stay off drugs.

Americans want personal liberty and economic opportunity. Americans want protection from foreign powers. They want to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods. They want to get the pandemic behind them. They want to work and provide for their families. Americans are tied of lockdowns and want to travel again. Our young people sent that message loud and clear when they headed to the beach this summer.

We can agree on what we want to achieve. The challenge is, we have a difference of opinion on how to get there. A leader must understand they are not the brightest bulb. The best thing they can do is to assemble a diverse team of experts and create an atmosphere where people respect and trust each other and feel safe expressing opinions. The best solution won’t look like anything that was originally proposed. A common goal that everyone buys into is the most important element of a successful team. Having an effective leader is a close second. It is important for our elected leaders to understand we have only given them a position of leadership. They need to prove to us that they are capable of real leadership. They must have a vision, be influencers not commanders and set an example for people to follow. Each of us must choose to be leaders and set an example of how we now move forward for the common good. Our future depends on it.

This is Apprenticeship Week for our Building and Construction Trades. For our Region to grow and projects to get built, we need more people in the Building and Construction Trades. Young people can earn while they learn without having a loan to repay. Thoughts to ponder.

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. He is the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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