News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

Of late, we hear a lot of bad news, no matter where we’re getting our news.

Depending on your political allegiances and natural biases, you may believe one side and distrust the other, or vice versa, but either way, with a president and House majority growling and battling for dominance, the feeling of ever-encroaching discouragement and despair seems omnipresent these days.

The Democrats keep telling us the president is going to dismantle the pillars of democracy if left unchecked. The president keeps telling us that the world is falling apart and only he can keep us safe with walls and deals.

This ever-present pessimism is baked right into the president’s campaign slogan, emblazoned on every red hat in the region these days: Make America Great Again.

Which implies it’s not now. And, on further implication, never can be, because if Donald Trump ever announced we’d made it and America had reached whatever theoretical level of greatness we once had, he’d soon be out of a job. Instead, it exists as a phantom, a promise ever proffered but never fulfilled.

And what are the Democrats supposed to say? No, let’s not make it great? We’re OK enough? It’s a losing proposition.

Nevertheless, I come to you today not to preach about the problems of either party, or the rhetorical failures of the entire mass of elected leaders, but to say, essentially, ignore them.

Politics are driven these days by grievances above all else. What do you hate? Vote against it. We do very little voting in favor of anything these days. Instead, the two parties line up targets and tell us to let fly with our ballots to defeat the other side.

But I want us to feel optimism again. I want us to believe in things, not base our feelings on distrust of the other. I want an America that feels hope again — true hope, one based on what we can do together, not the partisan kind based on a false savior narrative presented by one party or another.

Hope springs eternal, Alexander Pope wrote long ago, and it remains true today. We just need to listen to it more often.

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