Our Holiday Wish: One Nation Under God

Frank Islam-

America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world. My friends, we have work to do.

— George H. W. Bush, 1989 Inaugural Address

As we noted in our blog preceding this one, our American democracy is on trial. Our country is more divided than it is united. There is a need to rediscover the purpose of this great nation, who we are and what we stand for as Americans. There is definitely “work to do.”

Given this, we thought it was an appropriate time to revisit the holiday wish blog we posted in December 2016 after Donald Trump was elected President. Here is what we said back then:

“One nation under God. That is our sincere wish for the United States of America and its citizens this holiday season. Let us repeat that wish.

One nation under God. What would create such a nation?

Its God would not be a Christian God, a Muslim God, or a Jewish God.

Its God would be ecumenical and non-denominational.

Its god would welcome all — even those who do not believe in a divine being — unless it’s Bette Midler.

Getting to God is the easy part — especially if one recalls that God is really George Burns.

Getting to one nation will be a much taller order. But it is an order that is definitely needed and worth placing.

We place it as our holiday wish list for this year. That list is in no way a comprehensive one — it is just a starting point for moving the United States closer to being one nation

As one nation, the United States would be inclusive and accepting of all people regardless of race, religion, or sexual disposition

As one nation, the United States would be inclusive and accepting of all forms of music from classical to country to jazz to rock to hip hop and rap

(And, yes maybe even heavy metal and grunge — although they are not our cup of tea)

As one nation, the United States would elevate citizenship above partisanship and bring people together to pursue the common good

As one nation, the United States would be the place known for sharing and caring as opposed to blaming and shaming

As one nation, the United States would emphasize building bridges instead of constructing boundaries and barriers

As one nation, the United States would have leaders willing to compromise and collaborate to put the public interest above political and personal interest

As one nation, the United States would extend life lines instead of drawing battle lines

As one nation, the United States would be a land of big dreams, small treasures, brave people, kind deeds, and tender mercies

As one nation, the United States would be a country characterized by its civility and comity, grace under pressure, quiet dignity, sense of humor, and boundless energy.

Those are the items on our wish list at this point in time. We will add others as they come to mind.

We do not ask God or Santa to grant these wishes.

We understand that it will be up to us as mere mortals to pledge to pursue these wishes — not as an act of allegiance — but as a solemn commitment to doing all that we can, working in consort with other concerned citizens, to deliver on the American promise to make the United States “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

That was our holiday wish and the points on our wish list in 2016. In 2023, we reiterate that wish as those points are still relevant.

And, because of the events of the past few years, there are many items that we would add to our wish list. At the top of that list are the following:

“As one nation, the United States would continue to be a nation for immigrants of all colors and creeds from countries around the world

As one nation, the United States would empower its citizens to see their fellow citizens as allies and not enemies

As one nation, the United States House of Representatives would be a home for elected officials to perform their civic duties, rather than to engage in divisive performances

As one nation, the United States would embrace libraries as repositories for the collection and sharing of books, and not for the banning of them

As one nation, the United States would allow teachers to engage fully in their chosen profession, and not be unduly controlled by parents or school boards

As one nation, the United States would have colleges that stress education and research, as opposed to individual or institutional commentary and criticism

These wishes and our earlier ones have been driven by areas in which the United States has made little progress, or has regressed in recent times.

Some would say those wishes are just pipe dreams. In all candor, their current status does bring to mind the famous saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

It also brings to mind, however, the thought that, if there were no wishes, there would be no starting points for reaching a desired destination, whether it be by foot, by horse, by car, by plane, or by spacecraft. Wishes provide the platforms for generating the ideas, creating the plans, and doing the hard work to bring them to reality.

With that in mind, in closing we remember the words of Bob Dole, U.S. Senator (R-KS), Republican nominee for President, and an army veteran disabled in WW-II, who died on December 5, 2021. In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post after his death, Dole wrote:

“There has been a lot of talk about what it will take to heal our country. We have heard many of our leaders profess ‘bipartisanship.’ But we must remember that bipartisanship is the minimum we should expect from ourselves…Our nation’s recent political challenges remind us that our standing as the leader of the free world is not simply destiny. It is a deliberate choice that every generation must make and work toward. We cannot do it divided…Our nation has certainly faced periods of division. But, at the end of the day, we have always found ways to come together. We can find that unity again.”

Senator Dole is right — We cannot do it divided.

That is why our holiday wish for America in 2023 is One nation under God.