I still believe there are over 300 million Americans who long to be united. We have done it before. But how?
Respect. That’s how. This week, I am convinced that Justin and Justin instantly gained the respect of 300 million people. That’s not everyone, but it’s enough.
To be an American does not require you to agree to a doctrine. It does not require you to submit payment. It does not require you to believe in something. America, when you see her, will not ask you for your money, your belief, your ideology, your identity, or your allegiance. She will not ask for your conformance, your submission, or your loyalty.
America will ask for one thing, and one thing only: respect. And yet America will not demand respect. America will not require respect. Until leaders who earn our respect are found, respect will be elusive. America will wait. America will not be America until we see leaders rise up and earn respect.
Respect is not coerced, but earned. America longs for leaders who earn our respect: respect for your neighbor, respect for the “other”, respect for the enemy, respect for those not like us, respect for the opposition. To be an American is to respect that you can live your life and I can live my life. It is respect that has united us in the past. It is respect that unites us now.