I was driving through western Kansas the other day past hundreds of cricket pumps bringing up oil formed millions of years ago that was trapped beneath some impervious rock formation as it migrated from a long since buried primeval swamp. I got to thinking about all that it takes to get that oil from a mile down into my gas tank.
There is the expertise of the geologist, land man, lawyer, engineer, roughneck, producer, speculator, refiner, the teachers who taught them, and the gal serving coffee in a cafe on main street in Ellis or Stockton or any of a dozen little Kansas towns.
If that pump broke down today, I wouldn’t have a clue how to fix it. But there’s a guy drinking that coffee at the cafe this morning who does, and that’s where the greatness of America lies. It is literally among us.
Nobody we send to Washington, D.C., can make America Great Again. The best we can hope for is that they will help us keep it great.
If great is what we want to be, it will come from promoting our unity, showing respect to all those who contribute to our well-being, and finding our courage in our common goals and aspirations. It’s not from building walls around ourselves, but by sharing the blessings of liberty, by fulfilling our obligations as citizens, and by our determination to do the hard work of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
So as divided as we might think we are right now, take a moment to reflect upon words meant to heal a divided nation. They were spoken by Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address just weeks before he died at the hands of an assassin who could not accept that the time had come for reconciliation.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”
David Rolph is chairman and founder of Sasnak Management in Wichita.