“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

As confirmed American citizens, these words should have significant meaning that supersede personal idiosyncrasies, likes, dislikes, and attitudes. Granted, we are all individuals who have thoughts and opinions unique unto ourselves but the one common thread that should form the seam of our attachment to a common goal is an unfaltering desire for the overall success of the country.

Last week, November 3, 2020, recorded the day when a record number of people finalized their choices for selection of the 46th president of the United States. The contenders: of course, the current Commander and Chief Donald Trump and Senator Joe Biden were pitted against one another in what had been a heated contest which was even more complicated by the current health care crisis. The President was criticized for holding rallies and his challenger for not. Disruption of the postal service marginalized the ability to vote by mail in addition to a number of other issues that prompted individuals to turn out in record numbers.

People flocked to early voting sites in cities throughout the country with some being required to wait hours in line for the opportunity to cast a ballot. The Washington Post listed: “The line is a barrier. It stretches along sidewalks, around corners and through parking lots, zigging one way and zagging back the other. It is a daunting impediment to those who cannot wait. A reminder of this nation’s long history of voting hurdles. Protection against a deadly virus and a defiant response to those who have sought to deny the most basic right in a democracy.”

Additionally, the true nature of what it means to be American eventually emerged as the Post also reported: “The line is an inspiration. The crowd moves with shared purpose. Strangers hand out water bottles. A woman sways to gospel music. Lawn chairs are pulled out and pizzas ordered. Red, white and blue are the colors of the day.” From this, we can effectively discern what is at the heart of every red blooded American in that, no matter the odds, the good people of this country will embrace a common purpose and sacrifice their comfort, differences of opinion, and even political affiliation to facilitate progress. The beauty of what comprises the heart of America lay in the fact that it didn’t matter to those standing in line for who the person next to them intended to vote, but they all stood for the same purpose.

Embracing the right to vote is the basic construct of democracy that assigns an equal voice to every individual who wishes to be heard. Throughout the tumultuous history of America, it’s a liberty that hasn’t come without contention, bloodshed, and sacrifice which is the reason every individual who endured the long lines and lengthy waits was willing to, literally, take a stand. Seldom does everyone agree on every issue; and even when people operate beneath the umbrella of uniformity, they’re most often there for different reasons or with contrasting purposes.

The thing that unifies Americans as Americans is rarely the fact that we all agree on every issue but the point that we can, in fact, actually disagree. One neighbor might be a professed democrat and another a devoted republican but the blood coursing the veins of each would have them in agreement when it comes to the protection, upkeep, and sanctity of their community. In a civilized society, differences should not tear people apart or drive them to violence but compel individuals to effective communication which eventually results in amicable resolve. There is no situation involving two opposing forces, attitudes, or opinions wherein resolution can’t be reached if that truly is the desired outcome.

Whether we embrace a common bond, a heart-felt desire, individual aspirations or differences of opinions; whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, we can still remain one nation, under God, and indivisible.

To pose a question or share your opinion, you can reach Billy Howard at or P. O. Box 8103, Jacksonville, FL 32239.