IN TODAY’S SOCIAL media world, it is all too easy to despise other Americans if you don’t take the time to get to know them. When given a chance, we are likely to get along. It is important to realize that far more unites us than divides us.

“Most of America regards the nation’s capital as hopelessly dysfunctional, a theater for political combat, where the needs of the people are subordinated to the interests of the few,” said Dan Kliman, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Amidst the discourse and divisiveness, the 116th Congress will convene Jan. 3. We can only pray that Americans of all religious, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds will come together and serve side by side in a spirit of “it’s best to legislate, not investigate.”

We currently have an environment that is divided by partisanship, ideology, gender, class, generations, race and income. There is also the #MeToo movement, the bitterness between the Donald Trump supporters and the “never Trumpers.” These toxic situations could have an impact on society for decades to come.

We firmly believe America is at its best when Democrats, Republicans, Independents, liberals, progressives, conservatives and moderates come together as one to complete the mission of making America the great nation that we expect it to be.

About 116 million people voted in the 2018 midterm elections, the first time the number topped 100 million. An astounding 36 million voted early by absentee ballot. This is a new dynamic that must be better planned for going forward.

Officials must figure out a way to count those votes in a timely manner. In some cases, those absentee ballots weren’t counted until days, even weeks after the election. That’s a situation that needs to be fixed.

People are voting early because they are traveling, they can’t take off work or they refuse to stand in line for several hours when their designated precincts are overwhelmed on election day. Even that didn’t work. I saw news reports that showed people waiting in line to vote early.

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WE CONSTANTLY hear that we are a divided country. Is that a bad thing? I guess we’re divided about that, too.

On the one hand, that fact has created a lot of angst because we refuse to compromise and find common ground. The rancor festers. We choose a side and we refuse to budge. We become tribal and we only associate with like-minded people.

On the other hand, what would our democracy be like if one ideology constantly ruled with 70% of the votes? What if every election produced a landslide result, whether it was a liberal or conservative candidate. Don’t we need a yin and yang?

Is it a good thing or a bad thing when political contests are decided by less than 1%? This past November, we saw several races decided by less than 25,000 votes when there were 10 million votes cast.

No one wants to lose an election by such a slim margin. At least a landslide margin would remove all doubt, right?

Wouldn’t it be better if all U.S. Supreme Court decisions were by a 9-0 vote? What do 5-4 votes tell us? The new Congress will have a House with a Democrat majority of 235-200 and a Senate with a slim Republican majority of just 1 to 3 votes.

This is only a problem because the major issues are voted on by straight party lines. Why can’t our elected officials debate the merits and then vote on a bipartisan basis? Why encourage a hostile environment?

Many of us are guilty of allowing preconceived narratives to cloud our reasonable demand for facts and evidence. Accusations become self-proving. We must guard against people with ulterior motives being allowed to invent false accusations that destroy the innocent.

Presidential elections reflect our divided country. It is common to have a winner get 49.3% of the 130 million votes. The loser got 48.6%. The losers feel disenfranchised and become bitter.

What if presidential elections were always decided by a 75% to 25% margin? We’d have a clear winner, but would it result in less rancor and discourse? At some point, would Americans in the minority simply give up and stop challenging the majority?

Politics is a unique animal. It has become a blood sport. It’s ruled by big money. It’s a “winner take all” game. Neither side is willing to compromise. No one can find common ground and neither side has claimed the higher ground.

We can’t value diversity to the degree that it trumps unity, assimilation and order. We can’t celebrate victimhood over resilience and self-sufficiency.

Every day, the average American lives, works and survives by performing as a team. People from every background join together for a mutually-beneficial purpose. They want a job, they want a family, they want good health, they want a safe place to live and they want a path to a happy future.

Imagine a 150-piece international orchestra. They come from all over the world. They may have a wide range of beliefs and burdens. But when they put their skills together, they can make incredible music because they have a shared purpose and a commitment to a glorious outcome.