Unity. Unity was the false hope of this election. Remove Donald Trump and we can all come together or, so we were told. As the dust of the election clears it looks like both candidates received over 70 million votes and the divisions in our country are as wide – or wider – than ever, regardless of who sits in the White House.

Unify? Are we going to unify on fundamental principles? On the Constitution? Federalism? On our God-given rights; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Freedom of speech? We do not even agree on where our rights come from.

One thing is clear, we are where we are because of the baby boomers. This happened on our watch. I have been thinking about this for the past year or so. As I spent time in my garden in the odd summer of 2020 I prayed for wisdom. What do I teach my grandchildren? What is permanent and what are the building blocks for the foundation they will need as they grow? Information and misinformation bombards us daily, what is the lens to determine the truth?

If we are at the point that our lives, our rights, our happiness depends on who is elected president, we have lost already.

My focus in teaching my grandchildren will be on the basics, the foundation of our country. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But the next line is equally as important, but too often forgotten. “That to secure those rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

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Unity? A good place to start is the founding principles of our country. Today, many feel that our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence are relics of the past, no longer suitable for today. How do we unify if we do not agree on the fundamentals?

How do we unify when we do not agree on the freedom of speech? Cancel culture is alive and well in our new era of unity. If you say something that someone finds offensive you can be silenced on social media, you can lose your job, you can find yourself on a list. Yet we are told we must now unify.

We can teach our children that they are free to speak, to express their thoughts, but they know better. Conform or be outcast, that is the clear lesson today. But conformity is not a path to unity unless your definition of unity is different than mine.

Perhaps a silver lining from 2020 is that parents and grandparents have a larger role in education than before. We can decide what and how to teach our children. We can teach the fundamental, often lost, principles. This will not lead to unity, at least not directly. But it will give them the foundation for finding truth.

Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an "innovation over regulation" think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.