States united — an ideal that started in the United States years ago. United by law. The people, diverse, individual and unique, began divided. Persecution, whether because of race, beliefs, hate or fear, has slowly moved toward acceptance, neutrality and humanism.

Truth — individual differences can create growth. With humanism, growth can be painful, yes, but can also produce compassionate and healthy outcomes. For some, humanism creates personal growth. For others, the pretense of humanism suppresses fear, hate, racism, prejudice and persecution. That suppression, perhaps, allows time for some to become free of hate and embrace true humanism.

The United States should be represented by individuals who demonstrate humanism in strength, compassion and civility.

The present leadership has shed the blanket of civility, demonstrating a lack of humanism. Following today’s leadership, individuals have freed the pretense that suppresses fear, hate, racism, prejudice and persecution. Acceptance, neutrality and compassion have diminished. Differences that created growth now bleed fear and hate.

States divided, a people divided; an ideal that defines the identity of the United States fades. I am concerned for this country moving in a negative direction and alarmed for the increase in the division and violence among the people.

My hope is that as the country moves forward, people will realize that there is a necessity for leadership who promote unity, acceptance and peace; leadership that will bring this country back to the ideal of a “United” States.

Jo-Ellen Carter, Oxford