Open letter to the elected officials of the U.S. government:

I am a citizen of what I believe to be the greatest nation on earth: the United States of America.

This country is the home of my birth and a blessing from Almighty God.

We are blessed by the scenic beauty of our land, the resources available to us, and the liberties and “unalienable rights” that we enjoy so bountifully.

Our forefathers chose the bald eagle to be our national emblem on June 20, 1782. I’m sure that you have seen this majestic bird, but I would like to draw your attention to some parallels between the bald eagle and our nation.

You identify yourselves politically as being a part of either the “right wing” or “left wing” and, sadly, point blame at those who are part of the opposite “wing” as being the source of our nation’s problems. You, in many cases, attack those with whom you do not agree and go so far as to dehumanize them. This has spread into the people of our nation; I see division and hatred for people who think differently in my own family, friends, community and across the nation.

May I assert to you, however, that the right and left wing are part of the same bird? An eagle, when it is soaring high above the earth on warm and rapid winds, is the epitome of strength and beauty.

The eagle stretches its wings to their full span and glides in majesty and grace. An eagle that is missing a wing, though, is unable to fly.

I have seen such an eagle; his name is Osceola.

He is thought to have suffered a compound fracture in his left wing and, due to the extent of his injury, had the wing amputated.

Humans have taken the bird on flights with the assistance of hang gliders, but this bird is no longer able to fly by his own power. He would, if he lived in the wild, be killed swiftly by predators because he is helpless to

escape.

You act as though you wish that the other “wing” should be eradicated; you are wrong. Doing away with either wing would render our “bird” helpless and vulnerable to destruction.

The wings of an eagle, however, are only a fraction of the whole bird. The brain of the bird controls the wings and the heart of the bird gives its body life.

The wings must work in submission to the brain and in cooperation with each other. If our nation is an eagle and you are the wings, you are a fraction of the bird.

The heart of our nation is the population of her people and the brain of the nation is the U.S. Constitution.

Are you deriving direction from the brain of the bird? Does the life in the wings come from the heart of the bird?

It nearly goes without saying that each part of an eagle works together to protect the survival of the bird, even though the different parts have different functions.

If one or more parts of the body work against the greater body, the bird becomes ill and may succumb to death. Medical professionals would refer to such a thing as an autoimmune

disease.

If some of you were to be judged by the intent and your actions, would you be found to be an autoimmune disease that is working against the good of the bird for your own perceived benefit?

President Abraham Lincoln so famously said in a paraphrased quote, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

He also said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” President Lincoln described our government as one “... of the people, by the people, for the people.” You were elected to power by the people to work for the people, so your power comes from the people.

This means, according to President Lincoln’s words, that your character is being tested.

There may be some of you who are passing the test, but I implore you to ask yourselves how well you are doing in this test of character.

The people, you see, are not only the heart of the bird but the eyes as well. I, as part of the eyes, do not see many of you in the wings that would pass this test of character; I hope that will change.

Please consider these things and, for the good and health of our nation, work together as one body.

I hope, further, that you will lead the people of this great nation back to a place of unity and liberty.

James R. Gann Jr., a resident of Walland, is a professional in education with a bachelor’s degree from Lee University and a master’s degree from Shenandoah University.

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