Veterans Day should be a time of national unity as we honor the men and women in uniform who have served and defended the United States.

This important observance comes on the heels of an election that demonstrated a stark divide among the American people — virtually 50-50 in North Carolina and some other states.

This division is based on factors like educational attainment, geography, race and moral beliefs, all harder to overcome than political affiliation alone. Election results in this state clearly demonstrated how views of voters in the more prosperous urban areas differ from those in rural counties, especially in northwestern North Carolina.

They also shed light on how very sharply divided Americans are based on sources of news and other information and what they perceive as fact and fiction. This is especially concerning. It’s reflected in opposing beliefs about the COVID-19 pandemic, whether the presidential election results were rigged and much more.

This division limits the ability of state and federal governments to address issues that should be uniting us.

It creates opportunities for those with authoritarian intentions seeking to damage mechanisms that help maintain the balance of power and ensure the continued existence of our unique democracy. This can be hard to recognize, but it’s a threat our founding fathers feared.

It can also be hard to consider views that differ from those of our closest associates, let alone accept them. Most of us are guilty of being “tribal” in that way. However, we should try to consider the perspectives of others and think more deeply about what is true and good.

On Veterans Day 2020, Americans should remember and honor the sacrifices of veterans while defending the nation’s precious democracy by not letting our political and other differences make us enemies.

Doing otherwise dishonors veterans and threatens the nation’s future.

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