It’s all too easy in these times of political competition and rancor to forget that there is much more that binds us together as Americans than what separates us.

If you don’t believe this, let’s try a common shared values thought experiment.

First, like people everywhere, we deeply love children and families, share their happiness and sorrows, triumphs and troubles, often putting their interests and wellbeing above our own.

We care about animals, pamper our pets, get great joy from dogs and cats that show they appreciate us too … especially when we feed them.

We recognize responsibilities to help others in need, both friends and strangers who are down on their luck due to special circumstances beyond their control … health, hurricanes, and wars, for example.

Having said this, we also believe that able-bodied and -minded people should take charge of their own lives — help themselves — not make excuses and blame others for not trying.

We care about equal justice of opportunity guaranteed in our Constitution — not equity of unmeritorious results based upon stereotypic, divisive, demeaning racial, ethnic and gender categories regardless of performance and contribution.

Caring about equality also means that we don’t like people who try to cut in line ahead of others because they are bigger, richer, have influential positions and friends and feel more important and entitled.

Equality demands that laws of behavior are impartially established and fairly adjudicated for everyone, independent of income and social status, cultural and political ideology or any other biasing discriminators.

Americans embrace and celebrate cultural, racial and ethnic diversity which is joyously evident in the rich variety of foods we eat, music we listen to, representatives we elect, and schools most of our children attend.

Diversity includes respecting religion and gender pairing as entirely private matters which each adult individual must personally decide … not appropriate topics and agendas for elementary and middle school indoctrination.

Whereas civilized people everywhere care about the sanctity of life, elective termination of pregnancies is both a highly personal and publicly ethical matter that entirely eludes partisan unanimity, most particularly regarding late-term abortions of healthy near-born infants.

And whereas there is also no partisan dispute regarding a need for responsible government regulations and safeguard measures to protect our environment — to ensure clean water and air for example — legislating plant-nourishing, life dependent carbon dioxide as a climate “pollutant” to be combatted by a war on hydrocarbon energy remains both scientifically and economically controversial.

American prosperity has resulted in large part from a capitalist free-market system which rewards producers and consumers alike for creating products and services the public wants … the cars we drive, for example, rather than subsidizing electric plug-in vehicles with tax money.

Competitive free markets incentivize risk-taking innovation and entrepreneurship essential for enviable domestic and international economic and human progress, along with essential tax revenues to support government services that benefit everyone.

On the other hand, profligate government spending by both political parties should be mutually recognized as causing inflationary burdens which fall heaviest upon the poorest among us along with weight of debt we irresponsibly pass on to future generations.

Although no substitute for personal responsibility, there should be no partisan controversy regarding urgent local, state, and federal government responsibilities to serve public safety needs, including preventive and responsive policing of public domain roadways and communities where, inexplicably, many program budgets and personnel are being cut back.

During home invasions when seconds counts and police responses are at best minutes away, we can be grateful that our Second Amendment confers the right for citizens to bear arms for self-protection.

We routinely trust strangers driving potentially lethal vehicles to obey traffic laws, and we should expect no less responsibility and judgment from law-abiding recreational and defensive gun owners.

None of these advantages would be possible without national sovereignty, whereby a primary government role is to secure our borders against entry by unvetted groups and individuals with hostile and criminal intent who do not respect our laws and institutions.

Above all, let’s be thankful to enjoy freedoms and social benefits of a marvelous Constitutional republic named America that allows us to express and exercise differing opinions and priorities unified by broader shared values that truly matter most.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is “Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design” (2022). Read Larry Bell’s Reports — More Here.

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