There is an image from the Bible that is particularly striking. The quote from the book of Isaiah is often used and misused, but like many good quotes and striking images, it can be used in many ways to illustrate different concepts.
From Isaiah 11:6 we read, “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.”
Artists have often used this verse to show that natural enemies can find peace with each other and can even find rest and comfort laying with each other. In one verse in the book of Revelations, Jesus is described as the Lion of Judah, but in numerous places in the scripture, Jesus is described as the Lamb of God.
Theologians and other Biblical scholars (professional and amateur) can and will argue over every possible meaning of every word in the Bible. That is probably one of the reasons that there have been so many interpretations of the Holy Book and why so many different churches and denominations have evolved from the interpretation of both the Old and New Testaments.
However, despite those many things that separate us and make us different, we are all human beings and the words of Christ should always ring true. He told his disciples, “Love one another. Even as I have loved you, so should you love one another.”
There were no qualifiers included in Christ’s statement. He didn’t say to love only those who agreed with you. He didn’t say to love only those who look like you. He didn’t say to love only those who share your dreams and aspirations.
There were no qualifiers in His statement. In fact, it was even more that a statement. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you. Love one another.”
Rather than embracing those things that make us different, we often drive a wedge between our differences, thus making compromise or even discussion about compromise with others nearly impossible.
This has never been more evident than in the political arena.
In the past 15 years, I have been elected to three county and city positions. As a Clinton County Commissioner, I represented over 42,000 people. As the Wilmington Mayor and President of Wilmington City Council, I represented approximately 12,500 people.
Did they all agree with me and the decisions I made? Absolutely not, but I tried to represent everyone fairly.
I was always elected as a member of the Republican Party. Did I always agree with the various stances taken by the Republican Party? No, I did not. Did the Republican Party always agree with me? No, they didn’t.
I never felt that I was elected by the voters to be a Republican Commissioner, Mayor or President of Council. I was elected to represent all the people in our community. Regardless of their political affiliation (or complete lack of affiliation), I tried to represent everyone.
Watching the impeachment hearings over the past few weeks has been appalling.
The party-line clashes have been distinct and absolute. No one appears to be willing to listen to the other side. There has been little civil discussion.
Democrats went into the process with their minds made up and Republicans appear to be totally close-minded about anything being said.
There is a saying that could easily be used as part of a comedy routine. It goes, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.”
That now appears to be part of the battle-cry from both parties.
Without any new revelations, President Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives this week. There will soon be a trial in the Senate. There, the President Trump will be found not guilty.
Senator Lindsey Graham has already announced that his mind is made up. He doesn’t feel the need for any more information, witnesses or discussion.
Many others in the senate agree with Graham. So, President Trump will not be removed from office. Then, let’s just get it over with.
We all need to work together to improve our nation and our world. At least… talk to each other and listen to each other.
Folks, you do not just represent your party or your state. You represent everyone.
Maybe someday the Republican Elephant and the Democratic Donkey can find some peace together.
Randy Riley is former Mayor of Wilmington and former Clinton County Commissioner.