Though we possess different values, identities, beliefs, histories and aspirations, Americans are bound together in a “social fabric” — evident in towns, cities, states and nationally. To exist as a community is to live, work and address community problems together.

Recently, we have witnessed the sad and alarming rise of people who not only reject the premise of social fabric, but who also intend to set it alight with rhetoric and violence.

With a president unwilling to unequivocally condemn groups dedicated to hatred and bigotry — and other public officials unwilling to hold the president accountable for his abdication of American ideals and basic human morality — there is real damage being done to this nation.

Wholeheartedly, we want to say, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But let’s understand that this privilege extends only to people are willing to recognize our togetherness and willing to embrace such core American principles as liberty, equality, democracy, individualism, unity and diversity.

To work in opposition to those essential values is to be at war with America. JN

Matt Lehrman is the principal of Social Prosperity Partners of Paradise Valley, which facilitates meetings that engage diverse people and perspectives, de-escalates tensions, inspires collaborative thinking and sparks meaningful dialogue around options and opportunities.

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