What does it mean to be an American in 2021?

What does it mean to see the American flag flying high from a manufactured pole in Milton or the American flag perhaps a foot off the ground and bolstered by two upright metal supports in front of a Milton home?

Are they both symbols of the same America or of the same government?

Likely, and hopefully, yes.

After the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol by pro-Trump extremists, it is not surprising if we find ourselves wondering, here in Milton and about seven-and-a-half hours away from Washington, D.C., about the state of our country.

On the eve of a new presidential administration, there is much work to do, nationally and locally.

For those with any doubt in their minds, this election was not stolen, nor was it rigged. Not all and perhaps any of the 25 percent of Milton registered voters who supported the now former president, may believe this.

With the election results now certified and another moment of silence for the loss of lives in the insurrection, especially of those who fought to preserve the government, other work remains to be done.

Getting control of a burgeoning coronavirus pandemic, getting students back to the best learning conditions, and getting people back to gainful work top the list.

Not to be overlooked is creating and establishing a more racially just society.

Listening to the Jan. 18 annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day program presented by the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association and featuring as guest speaker the Rev. Irene Monroe, and hearing a song by the Milton High School chorus, reminds us that building a more equitable world may be frightening for some.

Fear of change is real. Fear of change in how we see ourselves in Milton and beyond Norfolk County can certainly be difficult, yet this is a necessary task.

The Milton Public School district is taking steps toward this goal, including with its hiring of Somaly Prak-Martins as senior director for education equity.

Monroe noted that what we don’t see now in the world does not mean it won’t become a reality.

“Right now, things look unsettling,” she said. “We are on a journey without a map. You are that roadmap and you can carve out the world that you want.”

Let’s rise to that challenge and begin anew.

– Lisa D. Connell


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