July 4, 2018

Today is my favorite day of the year.
As a patriot, my love of this country is not about party, it’s not about a specific person, or group, or political belief. It is about the ideas set forth on July 4th, 1776 and cemented with our Constitution and Bill of Rights.


a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

Today is my favorite day of the year.
Yes, I love summer. Yes, we all enjoy a day off.
Neither of those is the reason, however.
It was 242 years ago when a group of patriots declared their independence from Britain. This was more than a revolution, it was a cause.
A belief that all men are created equal; endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.
They set forth not only to dissolve the bonds to Britain, but to create a new form of self-government, in which the government derives its just power from the governed.
This grand experiment had never before been attempted. Change in leadership had always been from violence, or change never happened.
Their idea, our government, was based on a peaceful transition of power. Open and fair elections for all citizens to participate and a free press to speak truth to power. Those powers purposefully separated between executive, legislative, and judicial branches; each equal; none above another, and assigned oversight for each other. The real power lies within the People of this great nation.
Today, those truths are not as self-evident, and sometimes truths aren’t evident at all.
The power of the People has been diminished by the power of the dollar.
The press, while still free, is not as independent, thanks to media ownership rules, and battling a campaign labeling different or opposing views as fake.
The oversight among branches of government has been largely sidelined by partisan loyalty.
Despite the challenges, we still are the oldest existing nation with a constitutional government in which the people elect their own government and representatives.
Our Republic is facing crisis, but the foundation is solid. We, The People, must continue to use our voice, we must vote for Country over party, we must retain our Rights, and ensure that the Founders concept for a government of the People, by the People, and for the People shall not perish from this earth.
As a patriot, my love of this country is not about party, it’s not about a specific person, or group, or political belief. It is about the ideas set forth on July 4th, 1776 and cemented with our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Too often, politically, we see opposition for one as support of another. We should look beyond petty loyalties, and look to underlying belief. What is best for the country may not always align with your political view, but patriotism isn’t about politics, it’s about country.
So today, as we wave the flag and watch the fireworks, take a moment to reflect upon your own patriotism. Can you put your love of country ahead of a person or a party? Can you accept that we all have been granted the same Rights, enjoy the same freedoms, and believe in the ideals so beautifully expressed 242 years ago?   Are you willing to mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor, as the Founders did?
We must put aside our differences, move beyond our divisiveness, our contempt, and our political loyalties. Please take a moment to read the Declaration of Independence today as a reminder not just of our shared past, but of our common future, as the United States of America.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day.
Happy Birthday to the United States of America!

Volunteering is an important part of your life, both personally and professionally.

People who volunteer are 42% more likely than people who don’t to say they are ‘very happy’. The relationships you build, and the experiences you gain, will benefit you personally and professionally. It is the ultimate form of networking; all while giving back.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” – Sir Winston Churchill

As my network grows, and I connect with more people, I’m always surprised by how much attention is focused on only one aspect of people’s lives: their career.
I understand that LinkedIn is designed for professional use, but there is very purposefully an area for volunteer experience. Volunteering should be a part of your professional life. As your knowledge grows, you’ll want to showcase your experience outside of work, just as much as you do for work.
Whether your professional life is fulfilling or not, involvement in a charity is a worthwhile endeavor.
For too many, writing a check is the only connection they have to a charity. Giving, however, does not have to always be monetary. Organizations are always in need of volunteers, not just for events or office tasks, but for skills and services that they don’t have.
This relationship isn’t one-sided, either. Volunteers gain experiences they may not have access to through their work. You may learn new skills that impact your job or prepare you for the next one. Through collaboration with other volunteers, you’ll also gain professional connections. The volunteer experience should be fulfilling one, for both you and the organization.
Some organizations struggle with how to best engage volunteers. Ensuring that needs and skills are matched is critical to success. Having too few volunteers puts a burden on Staff; too many, and the volunteers feel unnecessary and underappreciated. Finding the right balance, and managing needs and expectations, is an important step when soliciting and accepting assistance. Just as with any job interview, understanding the organization and the individual are key factors in the process. A highly-skilled volunteer is a precious commodity; don’t squander the opportunity.
A good employer, too, will encourage charitable involvement, and may provide further assistance to the organization in the form of sponsorship, recruitment, or event participation. Companies have found that supporting a cause can drive up morale, productivity, and foster an overall healthier work environment. In some cases, employees may directly benefit from the organization their company, and their peers, are involved with.
For many, this experience helps create a much healthier work/life balance. No longer is the only expectation to work, work, work. Time away from the office can provide a much-needed break, both physically and mentally. This is particularly true when you take the time to find the right organization and engage in a way that is meaningful to you. People who volunteer are 42% more likely than people who don’t to say they are ‘very happy’. The relationships you build, and the experiences you gain, will benefit you personally and professionally. It is the ultimate form of networking; all while giving back.
If you’re already involved with a charity, please continue to give of your time, your talent, and your treasure.
If you haven’t yet taken that step, take a moment to think about what causes are important to you, and where you would enjoy having an involvement.
It would be wonderful to see more people volunteer, not just to list the experience on LinkedIn, but because it matters. For me, the best connections have a healthy balance of professional and charitable experiences. Giving back is an important part of our lives; the sooner we start, the more impactful we are. While this may also help build your resume, it will improve your life, and the lives of others.

Responsibility in Politics

What we should be seeking in our elected officials isn’t an ideology, it is responsibility.
We have the power of choice, and the freedom of expression. It’s time we used them wisely.

Is the system broken, or are we?
Politically, we may not be who we think we are, so when we vote, are we making an informed choice, or a reactive one?  We are individuals, yet typically identify with a collective, even when it’s detrimental to some of our beliefs.
For those who identify as liberal or conservative, perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and decide if that represents the entirety of your views.  While each of us has some component of each philosophy, some lean much more one way than the other. As a personal belief, there is nothing wrong with that. As a political ideology, it gets more complicated.  When it comes to governing, it is ineffective.
What we should be seeking in our elected officials isn’t an ideology, it is responsibility.
E. Pluribus Unum.  Out of many, one.
Our motto says it all. We are a vast and diverse Nation with many beliefs, traditions, ideas, philosophies, and desires.  Each of us is guaranteed the right to have our own opinions, and the right to express them. We can express them in many ways; where we live, how we shop, the friends we keep, the jobs we hold, and who we vote for.
It is that very vote that makes it so critical for elected officials to separate their personal ideologies from the ability to govern.
Leadership is the culmination of skills required to create an inspiring vision of the future, motivate people to engage with that vision, and deliver on it.
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
True leaders will build consensus and act on the best interests of the entire Country. When we allow our partisan desires to disrupt the process, stall legislation, and enrage those with different beliefs, we do a great disservice not just to each other, but to our democracy.  Any time one party pushes too far to one side, the pendulum inevitably swings far to the other side.  Opposition is not leadership, nor is inaction.
It isn’t difficult to see the future continuing to be a divisive one, with swings from one side to the other, and back again. It is just as easy, however, to envision an environment of collaboration, where Congress, despite their individual beliefs, collectively works to legislate for all.
For those in the electorate on the extremes, your anger and disappointment will never fully be assuaged.  While there will always be small victories, extreme views never play well in national politics.
For the rest of us, who tend to be a little of each philosophy, while we may never be fully happy, we will never be completely disappointed.
Our Republic was created to ensure that each of us has a voice, and that all our voices are equal.
Rather than work to divide, and to push an agenda doomed to eventual failure (and dismantling by the next Congress/Administration), we should work to unite, and elect responsible representatives. It is only then that we can move past this period of extreme division and disappointment, and begin to fulfil the Founders vision of democracy, where all men are created equal, and government exists to preserve the Rights of the People.
It is easy to place blame, judge others, and express frustration with the ‘system’.  Taking a critical look inward is difficult, as is accepting responsibility.  Our National identity, however, should come before any party one.
Whether we like it or not, we are all in this together.  We have the power of choice, and the freedom of expression.  It’s time we used them wisely.

My comments to the Elk Grove Village Board about Tobacco 21

There is a preponderance of scientific and medical evidence as to why tobacco products are dangerous to those who use them and those who are around them

Mayor Johnston, Village Trustees, my fellow residents; Good afternoon.
My name is Scott Saxe, and I’ve been a resident of Elk Grove Village for over 17 years.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today regarding Tobacco 21.
While there is a preponderance of scientific and medical evidence as to why tobacco products are dangerous to those who use them and those who are around them, I’ll leave that topic to the medical and scientific professionals in the room.
Throughout this community, there are signs welcoming people to The Village and declaring ourselves to be “The Exceptional Community”. At each of our schools, there are banners stating that ‘Character counts’.
I’d like to focus on those 2 things.
Exceptional is defined as ‘better than average’ or ‘deviating from the norm’.
Character is ‘one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual’.
What makes us exceptional is not just the lower taxes, the quality schools, the bike paths, public services, park districts, and business friendly atmosphere. What makes us exceptional are the people. The residents who live here, the businesses that employ here, and those who visit here. What makes us exceptional is leadership that fosters a community of inclusiveness, of character, and of healthy lifestyles.
We are exceptional in many ways in comparison to surrounding communities, and in the fact that we are considering raising the age on tobacco products from 18 to 21. Putting public health first, especially the health of our school age children, is a measure of good leadership and community responsibility.
There are those who will argue about the impact on local businesses and the reductions of personal freedoms. It is true that we all want to support businesses in the community and see them thrive, but they’ve already seen diminished tobacco sales due to lower tax rates in DuPage County.
There is a disparity between Counties on many levels, as there are between communities. In Elk Grove, we recognize that, and embrace it.
Status quo is not what we strive for in Elk Grove Village. We deviate from the norm; we are better than average; we are exceptional.
Another argument is around personal freedom and choice. While we do live in a free society, we are a society governed by laws. This set of rules is what establishes and maintains a community. As a community, we owe it to ourselves and to each other, to promote an environment of public health and public safety.
I can appreciate Trustee Franke’s position on overreach, but Jefferson himself said “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness.”
Smoking may be an individual choice, but the effects of smoking affect not just the smokers, but all those around them. When individual decisions impact public health and safety, we must act.
While that may not be a popular position among all here today, it does show character. What makes us exceptional is not ignoring a problem, but tackling it head on. What shows our character is standing by those exceptional ideals, even when it’s not popular.
We owe it to the very students we’re trying to teach character to, to set the example. If we cannot lead by example today, what type of education are we giving the leaders of tomorrow?
In 2007, Elk Grove Village took the lead before the State of Illinois banned smoking in public places, and enacted a ban of its own.
That showed character.
We must show that same character today, and ensure that Elk Grove Village remains committed to being exceptional in health services for our residents.
None of us like being told what we can or cannot do. We do, however, have a responsibility to our community; the exceptional community.
As Lincoln reminded us years ago:
“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities.”
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you, work with you, and continue to make Elk Grove Village exceptional.
Have a wonderful day.

My statement to the Cook County Finance Committee

My testimony to the Cook County Board about the sweetened beverage tax.

President Preckwinkle, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my fellow Cook County Residents. Good morning.
My name is Scott Saxe.  I reside in Elk Grove Village.  I’ve lived in Illinois for the past 25 years, all of them in Cook County. This is my home.
While there are many issues plaguing the State and County, I appreciate President Preckwinkle’s efforts at transparency in County Government.
None of us are fans of increased taxes, but many of us recognize the realities of the fiscal situation we are in. Unless we develop a comprehensive strategy to address the issues of the past, we are destined to revisit them in the future.
With the vast majority of County revenues going towards public health and public safety, you’re fulfilling the basic responsibilities of County Government: taking care of the people you serve. While it would be nice to see cuts, where possible, they cannot be at the detriment of those citizens that need services the most.
If the beverage tax is repealed, there is a $200 million gap in the budget.  I’m incredibly concerned about the impact that would have on the entire community.  As a citizen and taxpayer, I’d much rather have a tax where I have a choice (I don’t have to consume sweetened beverages) vs. a tax on my income, property, or other inflexible items.  Cutting essential health services takes choice away from too many.
As commissioners, it is incumbent on each of you to be responsible for the entire constituency you represent, not just those who vote, or donate, or speak at these meetings…everyone.  This is especially true of the children in our communities.
The science behind reducing consumption of sweetened beverages is solid, and would reduce obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a plethora of other health issues.
There is no doubt that this is sound health policy.  It is sound fiscal policy. It is sound public policy.
Anything else is just politics.
Let’s stop putting special interests, from both sides, before the public good.
While it may not be the popular thing to do, ensuring that public health and public safety remain fully funded priorities is the right thing to do.
Any budget cuts to public safety and public health would be far more detrimental to the residents of Cook County than a tax on drinks that we choose to consume.  Forcing another type of revenue increase on the taxpayers is much more burdensome on us all than a  tax on our optional drinks. Eliminating services that are critical to so many is unfathomable and irresponsible.
It all comes down to choice.
We have a choice on what we consume.
You, too, have a choice  on what you tax or a choice on what you cut.
You’re about to make your choice.
The Citizens of Cook County are watching.
We have choices, too.
Thank you.

Strength in our Diversity & our Unity

What makes America strong is our diversity AND our unity.

16 years ago, we faced our darkest day when terror reached our shores in an unprecedented display of devastation and destruction.
On that terrible September morning, we did what American’s do best, we came together as one to help and console each other, and to stand united in the face of fear.
We did not ask about politics, religion, race, sex, or anything else; we accepted the helping hands of strangers and relied on unknown shoulders to cry on.
America responded as we always have, with unity.  We joined together with a combined mission to ensure that we were safe, that this would never happen again, and that those responsible would be brought to justice.
After 16 years, however, we seem to forget the strength in our community.  We have spent too much time focusing on the things that divide us, rather than those that bring us together.
Make no mistake, what makes America strong is our diversity AND our unity.
We need leadership that can capitalize on this strength, not just in times of crisis, but in times of peace and prosperity.  We need to embrace our differences, celebrate that we can live together, express our opinions and beliefs, and learn from each other.  We must remember that despite the vast differences we bring as individuals, collectively we become the beacon of freedom, liberty, and justice known as the United States.  Our motto says it best:  E pluribus unim; out of many, one.
We must continue to honor the memory of those we lost 16 years ago.  We must continue to be united in that commitment, in our resolve, and for our Country.  To paraphrase Lincoln, we must ensure that this Great Nation, brought forth by our fathers onto this continent, conceived in Liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and with a government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the earth.
#Remember #Honor #911 #Sept11 #Freedom #Liberty #Rights #USA #Diversity #Community #Unity #EPluribusUnum #UnitedStates #Respect

Independence Day

Today is not just about freedom and liberty. Today is about our Rights and the place of government to secure those Rights; the Rights of the People…the governed.

241 years ago today, 56 brave men signed a document that would forever change their lives, and the course of world history.  It was a treasonous act that put each of them, and their families and friends, at great risk.
On that date, July 4, 1776, these representatives from the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, dissolving the political bands which had connected them with each other.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident” they boldly stated, although at the time, and since, it’s never been completely self-evident.  In today’s divided political climate, even the ‘truths’ are questioned.
Yet, the grand experiment that began 241 years ago today is still running.  Despite our differences, we unite behind our flag and those famous words that changed the world.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. These are our unalienable Rights.  Our government exists to secure those Rights.
Let that sink in for a moment.
We tend to forget the role of government, and where its responsibilities lie.  Today should be a reminder of why we declared our independence, what we expect from our government, and why it is imperative to hold it, and ourselves, accountable.
Eleven years after the Declaration was written, we drafted our Constitution, solidifying our form of government and defining its charter:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
 In a time when monarchies were the norm, our Founding Fathers decided on a form of self-government. The government’s purpose was to guarantee our Rights.
Many years later, Jefferson wrote about the Declaration: “all eyes are opened, or opening to the rights of man. the general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born, with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of god. these are grounds of hope for others. for ourselves let the annual return of this day, for ever refresh our recollections of these rights and an undiminished devotion to them.”
A poignant reminder from the man who wrote some of the most powerful and significant words in American History.  Jefferson died just a few weeks later, on July 4, 1826.
Those who signed the Declaration of Independence knew how significant their actions were, and pledged “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor” “for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence”
So today, and on every July 4, let us refresh our recollections of these Rights, what they truly mean, and pledge our undiminished devotion to them.
Today, as we celebrate, as we share with family and friends, as we bask in the glory of freedom and fireworks, remember what today is about.
It’s not just a Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. It’s not just the founding words of a new nation conceived. It’s not just about freedom and liberty.  Today is about our Rights and the place of government to secure those Rights; the Rights of the People…the governed.
‘Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed’
Today, remember the bold actions of those 56 men.  Remember the powerful words that reshaped the world.  Remember the man who wrote them, and honor his life’s devotion to this Great Nation and respect his passing 191 years ago today.
Today, 241 years after that unanimous Declaration, we remain free; not just from the words and actions of those 56 men, forever etched into our history by their signatures, but from the countless men and women who have defended this Nation, and our beliefs, for generations.
Today is a celebration of our Freedom, our Liberty, our Rights, and a solemn reminder of those who believed in them, defended them, and continue to protect them.
Thank you, Mr. Jefferson. Thank you to the other 55 representatives who signed the Declaration of Independence. Thank you to all who have served to protect and defend our Constitution, our rights, our freedoms, and our lives.  May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Thoughts on the American Health Care Act

It is time for a paradigm change in healthcare. Access to insurance is not care. Tax credits to offset insurance costs are not care. Until we can make care affordable and accessible, too many people will continue to suffer unnecessarily, and health equity remains a dream.
We must develop a comprehensive strategy to address the needs of all citizens, regardless of income, employment, education, or current health status.

First off, let me state that I think the Affordable Care Act was a good start, but needs vast improvement to ensure healthcare is both affordable and accessible for all citizens.
The Republicans are in an incredibly powerful position today.  They control both houses of Congress, the White House, and a majority of Statehouses around the Country.  This presents them with a unique opportunity to truly change healthcare in America for the better.  Unfortunately, where they appear to have no power is against the insurance industry.
If ‘Obamacare’ was a gift to insurance (and it was), the GOP version introduced in the House yesterday wrapped that up, added some cash, and put a bow on it.  The insurance industry must be thrilled.
Nowhere in the new legislation do healthcare providers benefit. Worse than that, there is no great benefit to people and patients.  For those of us who can afford insurance, and are part of an employee sponsored plan, not much changes.  Rates and deductibles will continue to rise, while benefits continue to decrease.
For those who couldn’t afford healthcare before, it probably won’t become any more affordable.  While there might be some new ‘bargain’ plans, it remains to be seen what that coverage would look like, and what providers would actually accept it.  There is nothing in the proposed law that guarantees lower premiums, puts a limit on annual premium increases, ensures acceptance of your coverage, or anything beneficial to people and patients (that we don’t already have today).  Participants may qualify for a tax credit, but you must pay the premiums first.  For those who cannot afford the premiums, there is no longer a tax penalty for not having insurance.
While many did not like the ‘mandate’ that required insurance coverage, the ‘penalty’ was less than $700 for an individual.  In the new bill, if you have a gap in coverage, insurance companies can penalize you up to 30%.  On a $4000 annual policy, this is $1200.  That money doesn’t go back to the government to offset costs, by the way, it goes straight to the insurers.
The States themselves will be hurt by this legislation, as well.  Today, as always, the burden of caring for the uninsured falls on State and Local programs.  Previously, those costs were reimbursed by the Federal government.  The idea behind the ACA was that with insurance, these reimbursements should be minimalized, if not nearly eliminated.
Under the new plan, those reimbursements are capped.  The States will now have to contend with more uninsured citizens and less money to care for them with.
I’m not sure how any of this can be considered ‘better’, unless you want to only reduce the upfront costs of the program; in that case, great job.  The reality, however, is that the long-term costs will be significantly greater, and the impact on the economy can be devastating.  Rather than doing something to truly change how we provide care to our Citizens, this bill has just limited who gets access to existing care.  Those who struggled to pay premiums may no longer be able to afford the coverages they so desperately need.
If we continue along the path we’ve been following, the sick will get sicker, insurance becomes less affordable, care is restricted, and we all will feel the impact. The staggering costs of healthcare remain the number one underlying cause of bankruptcy. Families should never have to chose between food and healthcare, between heat and healthcare,  or anything else and the care we all eventually need.  This should not be acceptable anywhere, let alone in the United States in 2017.
It is time for a paradigm change in healthcare.  Access to insurance is not care.  Tax credits to offset insurance costs are not care. Until we can make care affordable and accessible, too many people will continue to suffer unnecessarily, and health equity remains a dream.
We must develop a comprehensive strategy to address the needs of all citizens, regardless of income, employment, education, or current health status.

Happy New Year

As 2016 draws to an end, I look back on a year filled with great friends, great controversy, great surprises, great loss, and great times.
I’m incredibly thankful for the diverse group of people I call friends, and even more thankful for the passionate discussions, debates, and conversations we have.  I am fortunate to have a wide array of perspectives, opinions, thoughts, and ideas that I can listen to.  I’m equally fortunate to have an audience to share my own perspectives with, as well.
Whether you believe we need to make America Great Again, or that America already is great, we have plenty of work ahead of us. Until no child dies of cancer, or goes to bed hungry, or has to sleep in a bathtub for fear of bullets, we have work to do.  Until no parent has to choose between healthcare and a roof over their head or food on the table, we have work.  Until our students and employees can compete successfully in a global economy, we have work.  We may differ on the methods, but we all agree that too many Americans suffer, too many are marginalized, and too many don’t feel that they truly have unalienable Rights.  Until every citizen believes that these truths are self-evident, and that we can learn to respect and understand those who are different than we are, we have work.
We are not a Nation of one, we are not all alike.  We have different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, languages, thoughts, and ideas. We may be different, we should be different, but we can be united.
As we begin a new year, a new administration, and a new era, we shouldn’t put aside our differences, but embrace them.  It is only together that we can make a better America.
I look forward to learning more from each of you in 2017, and sharing my thoughts and opinions with you.  While I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, I do resolve to listen more.
May 2017 bring you, your families and friends, health, happiness, and prosperity.  Embrace the new year with the excitement you had as a child, without fear, but with hope.  A new year doesn’t necessarily bring change, but with an open mind, an understanding heart, and a passion in your beliefs, we can make things better.
Happy New Year!

We are more the same than we are different

today, instead of just expressing anger, fear, and confusion, reach out to someone who isn’t like you; learn something new

Terribly saddened by the events of the past days and weeks, not just in the United States, but around the world.
Yet in all the expressions of outrage, and even in words of comfort, we continue to build the barriers that cause all this hatred.
Instead of defining each other by our differences, let’s remember our common bonds.  Stop separating us and them, blue and black, Muslim and Christian, Jew and Gentile,  liberal and conservative.  In the United States, we are all Americans.  We don’t need to create separate classes based on ethnicity, religion, color, or anything else.  American is enough.  Stop the passive distrust caused by breaking us apart.   American lives matter.  All lives matter.
The same is true around the world.  Why must we focus on where we differ, when there is so much that ties us together.
Do we not all occupy the same planet, breathe the same air, bleed the same blood, and fight the same diseases?  These are human conditions, not unique to any continent, country, or civilization.
Take a moment to reflect not just on these recent tragedies, but how you react to them.  What you say and do has a tremendous effect on how you are perceived by others, and how they are perceived, as well.
If we all have a little empathy and understanding, the world would be a better place.  I’d rather listen and learn, than continue to fight based on meaningless words.   I matter, just like you.
So today, instead of just expressing anger, fear, and confusion, reach out to someone who isn’t like you;  learn something new, discuss ideas, embrace differences, create a new friendship, and make the world a better place.