We seem to focus mostly on what divides us, don’t we? I guess that’s human nature. It’s what creates a traffic jam when the reality is that the wreck we’re rubber-necking is off to the side of the road and really shouldn’t be causing a back-up. It’s why juicy gossip travels faster than the speed of right.
We love our dirty laundry.
Heck fire, my own industry has reveled in it for years. For the TV and radio boys, if it bleeds it leads. For us in the newspaper world – we bury the good news in the back and put the dirt up front.
It’s not one group, it’s most of us.
Maybe it’s time for a change.
We clearly have a lot that divides us – and maybe the only real answer is time. Maybe it’s just going to take time for the old prejudices and die-hard zealots to either change or go away? Believe me when I tell you that I’m not smart enough to know that answer.
But what if we get back to doing what our mom’s and grandma’s used to tell us – accentuate the positive?
Let’s start with, oh, where we live. Not trying to pick an argument, but I can already hear the objections building. After all, we’re tearing down statues of George Washington. However, I choose to believe that is not representative of the views of most of us – and I am defining us as black, white, brown, yellow and everything in between.
For good or bad, America is where we live and it’s a country that has given us the freedom to have this discussion – or argument. To be clear, none of us own a magic wand and there is absolutely nothing we can do to undo the wrongs that have occurred since the 1700s; just like nothing we do now will erase the goods that have gone on either.
If we can agree on that one single point, then perhaps we have a place to start. After all, what’s the alternative? Forget disbanding the police. What happens if we disband the whole flipping country? Does anyone rationally believe that without a strong national defense we aren’t speaking Chinese (or Russian or some other language) within years, if not months? So can’t we at least come together on the point that this is our land? While it may not be perfect, it offers us the opportunity to keep trying to get it right, to make things better.
Which gets back to what our moms used to say.
My good friend Karen Zach sent me an e-mail with an idea – let people take pictures of themselves with the U.S. flag and send it in. We will publish the picture and, hopefully, over time we’ll have a lot of smiling faces acknowledging that we all live under one flag, together.
Allow me to repeat something. No one is saying the US of A is perfect. It never has been. We’ve made mistakes – some pretty damn big ones. And we’ve done some good things – some pretty damn good. We are who we are and nothing will change the past.
But perhaps we can find ways to go forward.
Together.
So here’s the scoop. E-mail (or drop off at our office) a photo of you (and your friends, family, pets, whatever) with a U.S. flag. Please don’t show it burning, upside down or anything similar. It’s not that we are telling you that you can’t. We’re just saying that we won’t play along. You have your rights, we have ours. Please include your name and contact info. The e-mail is flag@thepaper24-7.com.
We’ll publish the photos we get and hope that perhaps spurs others do the same.
Who knows, we may not get any. We may get flooded. Dunno. All I do know is that Karen’s idea has merit. If, and perhaps that’s a big if, we’re going to pull back together as a people then it has to start somewhere. If this can be one small way, then let the flag waving begin.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.