Editorial: We can build bridges, tunnels together
The days after Sept. 11, 2001, were days when red and blue were obscured by the black soot and white ash that seemed to silt across the whole country — the cremains of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the plane in a Pennsylvania field.
In those days, it didn’t matter if you voted for George Bush. You were moved by his words as he stood on the rubble of the towers.
It didn’t matter if your neighbor was a Democrat. You worked side by side with him when your church was collecting donations to help with recovery efforts.
For an all-too-brief time, there were things more important than politics. There was survival. There was the desperate work to find life somewhere in a massive pile of death. There was hope and help and healing. There was reaching not just across the aisle, but over the edge of a cliff to pull each other to safety.
Where did it go?
That’s not just a rhetorical question. If there’s a place marked on a treasure map where it was buried, we have to go find it. We have to dust it off, stand it up straight and bring it into the light, because we need that sense of common purpose now more than ever.
We need to decide that it doesn’t matter who you voted for in 2016. It matters what you are willing to do to help us all move forward today.
It doesn’t matter what your neighbor’s party affiliation is. It matters that you work together at something to improve the lives of your community.
It doesn’t matter what your politics are or what the national organization’s platform tells you is important. Odds are you have a lot more in common with the guy next door than the people nailing those planks together, so let’s stop letting other people decide what matters to us.
We know what the mountains are that we have to overcome. We need more jobs, better jobs, clean water, good schools. We know what the rivers are that divide us. We have to get across economic, class and racial boundaries. But when things really matter, in times of crisis, we get by all of that almost without thinking.
We need to start doing that without waiting for tragedy to bring us together.
Southwestern Pennsylvania is built on bridges and tunnels. We can find a way to get across the rivers and through the mountains to get things done.
And it’s always easier to build a bridge or dig a tunnel if you aren’t doing it alone.