In our divided country we have allowed our differences to cast shadows of hatred, an ugly cloud segregating people into opposing groups, good versus evil, right versus wrong, yes versus no, us versus them, and all the other labels that separate and build mistrust. There are plenty of small examples of success, but it is difficult to transfer the positive results of personal relationships into societal advances. Progress limps along stumbling and occasionally falling. Finding ways to avoid the foolish excitement of conflict that the media glorifies might allow us to focus on the opaque wisdom of human connections, that endless attempt to walk from the night darkness of misconceptions into the daylight of common goals. And on that journey, empathy may be somewhere between the two, in the middle of dusk and dawn, making the color of understanding some shade of elusive hazy gray. If a thriving democracy is the ladder to the future, then it must be built with rungs of unity. We can only hope our country will value communication and elevate the rhetoric so that we can someday complete this climb, the one we’ve been on for such a long, long time, the ascent to find We the People and restore some of the miracle that is America.