jonathan madison

Last year, we bore witness to an unprecedented pandemic originating from a virus of deadly proportions: coronavirus. The effects of this virus have reached every nation, and the external effects can be seen without question — closed businesses, mandated shut downs, sickness and death.

However, some would argue that our nation was in the midst of an internal pandemic long before coronavirus: the disease of hatred and division on a national scale.

The pandemic may have cast a shadow on recent memory, but in the years and months leading up to the pandemic, our nation experienced an unprecedented amount of political and social division.

According to a CBS article, there were more mass shootings than there were days in the year in 2019. According to a 2019 USA TODAY poll, 9 in 10 Americans were “sick and tired” of the constant political division and intransigence that has gridlocked our nation. A majority of Americans, 55 percent, considered nearly all hope lost in our republic.

The tragedy and paralysis of the pandemic brought some of our nation’s internal problems to a screeching halt. Now that we embark on the road to recovery and reopening from coronavirus, it seems that our nation is quickly returning to old unaddressed habits. Last Wednesday, the lives of nine innocent bystanders were taken by a mass shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose. The Bay Area’s deadliest mass shooting since 1993 reminds us that our nation’s internal problems are just as important as those which are external. All the while our nation made its recovery from the virus this year, we slowly succumbed to problems predating the pandemic.

One of the most evident problems is that our nation has recorded 233 mass shootings in 2021 thus far.

Last year, it appeared that the logic of deeming another political party, faction or individual an enemy was being called into question. With the global threat posed by a virus of deadly proportions, many became conscious of the fact that there are greater enemies to our existence than political parties, factions, or persons.

Around the world, countless communities of every race, religion and creed rise up in the face of injustice in the protesting of George Floyd’s murder. We witnessed communities come together to support our collective recovery from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, it appears the pandemic did little more than cause an intermission of the internal plague we were dealing with. In coming to terms with this dichotomy, I am reminded of a message that faintly echoes throughout our existence: love your enemies.

Those who celebrated Easter in April understand the challenge that comes with attempting to follow Jesus Christ’s command to love one another without reservation, and reject our urge to combat one another.

To the human heart, his message was as fragile as a flame-lit candle amidst fierce winds, and yet as piercing as a two-edged sword. Now more than ever, perhaps our society can make sense of this command.

As you can imagine, many of his followers adopted the conventional wisdom warranting hatred for their Roman oppressors. Nonetheless, in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed multitudes to do the unthinkable. “Love your enemies,” he commanded. He even suggested that they bless their Roman oppressors, cherish those who hated them, and pray for those who persecuted them.

Astounded, many ridiculed his message — urging the question of why anyone should cherish those who hated them. Jesus explained that harboring hatred merely produces pain and anguish, thus imprisoning the soul of the one who hates. Love, by contrast, is the only force by which we can truly break free from fear’s captivity and the chains of despair.

I must humbly admit that the task of loving enemies is one in which I struggle to come to terms with on a daily basis. After all, each of us knows of someone we struggle to tolerate. Yet, I have never experienced a time in my life when our nation has grappled with an unseen and deadly enemy.

While I am deeply saddened by the global effects of this pandemic, my hope is that it will sound the alarm for those of us entrapped in the belief that our American brothers and sisters are enemies.

Cherishing one another is not an embrace of another’s ideology, practice or belief. It is a practice of love — the most immortal and enlightening force in our universe.

A native of Pacifica, Jonathan Madison worked for the

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services. Jonathan is Senior Partner at the Madison

Firm and can be reached via email at

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(10) comments

Terence Y

Great column, Mr. Madison. Unfortunately, when there is no cure for Trump Derangement Syndrome, it is only expected that hatred and division will continue to increase. When you have a Democrat party which demonizes law enforcement and is accepting of BLM and Antifa death and destruction, it is only expected that crime will continue to increase. When more and more felons are released from prison, and no bail is required for arrestees, it is only expected that the number of guns sold will continue to increase.

Ray Fowler

Hi, Terence

I would take a different path to that same mountaintop. Many folks who despise and oppose Donald Trump will rail against Trump's positions just because they are Trump's positions. A good example would be Trump's statements re: the origins of of the current pandemic. He stated unequivocally that the virus came from Wuhan, China. According to the left, he was xenophobic and racist for making such statements. Now, the left (and some foreign countries) are exploring the likelihood that the virus came from Wuhan. Where is the xenophobic and and racist rhetoric, now? Divisiveness driven by the hatred of a former president is destructive and it will keep us apart. Let's focus on points of view not personalities...

Cindy Cornell

Uh, isn't your continued diatribe about Democrats exactly what Mr. Madison is talking about?

Ray Fowler

Hello, Cindy

Perhaps you feel my comparing the left's condemnation of a position then pointing out that the left later adopted that same position without apology to be a diatribe, but most people would not...

Cindy, I'm sure you would agree there are plenty of haters out there... on both sides of the aisle. That hurts everyone... what's bad for the hive is bad for the bee.

However, in my view, the left has the edge for creating divisiveness. The right is certainly not blameless, but the left's purposeful driving a wedge into our society is destructive and threatens all Americans. And the left's mantra of systemic racism is probably the best example of the progressives' desire to divide our country.

A significant majority of Americans... left and right... want voters properly identified, they want the border secured, they want to keep firearms out of the hands of violent persons, and that majority want all Americans treated fairly and equally. Americans want to be unified.

Mr. Madison's comments go beyond today's headlines. Love is the key... Dr. King preached against violence of the fist and violence of the tongue. While we can all agree that physical violence must stop, how do we defeat violence of the tongue? Love your enemies...

Tafhdyd

Good evening Ray,

C’mon man. You speak of divisiveness by the Democrats. I don’t want to say you messed up but I am sure you saw the news with the “bipartisan” agreement in the House to go forward with an investigation of the Jan. 6th insurrection. The Dems agreed to what the Repubs wanted and thought they could proceed. A bipartisan effort only to be shot down by Moscow Mitch and his band of renowned minions. Why don’t they want an investigation by a bipartisan group? Oh, I know, because they will be found culpable in the riot. So much for bringing the country together in an effort of unity.

Ray Fowler

Hello, Tafhdyd

I don't want this to devolve into a Frances vs. Pee Wee back and forth, but Joe said he could move the stimulus package through in a bipartisan fashion... without Republicans. How exactly does bipartisanship work if one side says they can proceed without the other?

Joe is in charge. If he can break away from the progressive agenda, he has a chance of bringing unity to Americans. You know I'm not a Biden fan, but I accept that he is the person who sits at the desk in the Oval Office. Americans in general have more in common than the progressives want us to realize.

The country is not racist, yet what we from the media and Democratic Party leadership is an endless stream of critical race ackamarackus. Like I said earlier, Americans want others treated fairly and equally. True equal treatment is anathema to progressives. When the curtain is pulled back, the false narrative starts to unravel. How else can you explain BLM's loss of popularity? When it's about much needed police reform or ensuring blacks have equal opportunities, the organization gets the positive support it deserves. When you dig down into the movement's core beliefs, e.g. dismantling the American nuclear family or defunding the police, the organization starts to lose its appeal. Will the media or the Dems leadership call out those deceptions? Of course not... doing so would not support the false narrative... a narrative that promotes divisiveness. .

Tafhdyd

Hello Ray,

Yeah but, Yeah but, I won't go back and forth about your list of items, I think we have hashed out some before. As for Joe being bipartisan ...without the Repubs. I guess he is clairvoyant, 12 years of the party of no gives a good indicator of the future as opposed to the financial disclaimer...past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

I still want to know why they won't investigate January 6th. Without slighting the seriousness of Benghazi, they spent 2 1/2 years investigating it and they don't even care about an attack on the Capitol and American Democracy? There are a few Republicans sounding the alarm but the majority are pledging fealty to their deposed dictator over their oath of office and the Constitution.

Ray Fowler

Hi, Tafhdyd...

Benghazi investigation = investigating right wing extremists in DC? How does that work? BTW... what would be the equivalent of the Russian collusion investigation? But let's just set all that aside... we're not talking about raising or lowering taxes, drilling or not drilling for oil, or who's done a better job with the COVID vaccine... set aside the more mundane political caterwauling (from both sides).

My comments focused on what we know to be true... there is a tendency for Americans to find safety and comfort through association with like-minded people. That's no surprise. The key is... how can we get those "tribes" to move forward for the benefit of the larger body politic?

My point is that will likely not happen as long as the progressive left (which does not include all Democrats) continues to create divisiveness with by assigning the country's woes to systemic racism and labeling those who oppose their ideology as racists.

Start with the 1619 project... do you really believe this nation was founded to preserve slavery? Who started the slave trade? Portugal... do we boycott all things Portuguese? Those first Africans were transported on a Dutch ship. Do we boycott all things Dutch? Approximately 5,000,000 of the 12,000,000 slaves arriving in the the Western Hemisphere were sent to Brazil. Do we boycott all things Brazilian? (About 400,000 arrived in Britain's American colonies)

No, instead we boycott Atlanta. Who is hurt by that insanity? A lot of Blacks. Never mind that Georgia's new voting law provided more opportunities to vote than are offered in... wait for it... New York. According to progressives, the new law has to be racist. According to the president, it is a return to the Jim Crow era. Then, in all it's wisdom, corporate America and progressives support moving the All Star game to a state with voter ID requirements just like Georgia but only a 4% Black population. And we hear practically nothing from progressives about racist policies in China.

Our country is not a racist country. Intuitively we know this to be true. Why else would millions of persons of color want to relocate here? Where do you think the US ranks among the most racist countries in the world? It doesn't.

We haven't even touched on progressives calling anyone who wants to secure the border a racist. Even while lots of Brown folks are being exploited at the border as a result of the crisis created by the current administration. We haven't touched on progressive leadership that has disadvantaged Black communities in our inner cities.

The wedge keeping Americans from unifying is the progressive ideology grounded in leftist systemic racism rhetoric. Mr. Madison suggests we can overcome divisiveness by loving our neighbors. Before we, as a people, are driven further apart... we should give it a try. Nothing else is working.

Tafhdyd

Ray,

Just before I went to submit my comment I realized I mixed the content from your 8:02 PM with the 7:42 AM so you will see a little repetitiveness in my comment with the first half more towards your 8:02 and a little in the second half. I read your comment this morning but didn’t get around to replying till this afternoon and looked at the wrong one.

Your points are all well and good but the world isn’t going to a hot place in a hand basket because of the progressive left. They have some programs or plans that I don’t like and some I am ok with. On the other side of the fence there are some programs I like, (not too many) and some I don’t.

You mentioned Joe and bringing unity. It looks like my scenario I mentioned several months back of the right wing bipartisanship idea is coming to fruition. So far attempts at it are met with “that’s a non-starter” from the right. Like I suggested, their idea is don’t worry about 12 years of obstruction and four more now, just do what we want and we will call it bipartisan. As long as the collective leadership of the Republican House and Senate have their lips firmly planted on the rear of their deposed golden idol there is no chance of the nation ever coming close to unity.

We agree that the majority of Americans want what is best for each other and the country. How we get there is going to be the problem of the decade. Like I said at the start of the comment when I was looking at the wrong comment of yours, you have good points. As for boycotts, If I am not mistaken we did boycott French fries 20 years ago and I will let you talk to corporate America about moving the All Star game and their other corporate decisions. Returning to the progressives promoting divisiveness…the right wing also does their share in my book. If not 50-50 by both sides, 60-40 to the left at the most. Why not have a commission to investigate the insurrection? Why does Fox, Newsmax, OANN etc. still push the phony election fraud and Trump is still president garbage? The left has the “squad” and the right has MTG, Josh Hawley, Gaetz and a bunch of eunuchs for leaders. Unity? Maybe the next generation but not in our time, at least not in our time unless they get back to negotiations after 5PM. BTW, it is 5:00 in Inuvik, got to go. :)

Tommy Tee

Excellent letter, Mr.Madison. I always appreciate your eye-opening perspective.

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