I have been away for a few days at my aunt's funeral. Being with the family brought things back into focus for me. A focus on what is really important.
Sure, the issues I and other blog types write about are important. Sure, this stuff matters. And it is important that we remain engaged in these issues.
However, what I learned this weekend was that when it all boils down, family matters most. Family trumps politics, policy and all the rest. For those few days, we knew little of the news. Little of the political nonsense. What we knew was the precious and unconditional love of family and dear friends. Sure, we were all saddened. We all wept. We are all lessened by her passing. But at the same time, we rejoiced in each other's company and caring. We all grew a little closer and a little stronger.
We forgot that we are all different and have varied beliefs and opinions. We set those aside and dealt with things as one. Sure, we talked about all kinds of stuff in the wee hours at my aunt's home. Even politics. And even where some of us disagreed, we understood that the disagreement was petty and small compared to what binds us together. Amidst all of the grief and sadness we reached out to each other and found some happiness and even laughter.
And in all of that, there is a lesson. A lesson my beloved aunt would have approved and taught. We are all really one people. We will always have our differences and disagreements, but when it comes to it, we are all in this together. Be it family dealing with the loss of a loved one or a nation dealing with policy and issues.
The lesson carries over into today's political shouting matches. Even where good people disagree, it can be with courtesy and respect. Discussions need not become arguments. Disagreements need not become battles. As Americans, we are one giant family. And as family, we can disagree and still respect and care about each other.
Maybe we need to take a deep breath, step back from the rhetoric and remember that we all love this great nation. That conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, Tea Partiers and Movers-On share this one precious thing. We are and always will be Americans. We will always love our nation and what it stands for. And we can disagree without fighting and shouting.
Too often, this gets lost in the dust of the debate. Well, perhaps we need to tamp down that dust and treat each other as what we are - fellow Americans.