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Supporters loyal to President Donald Trump clash with authorities before successfully breaching the Capitol building during a riot on the grounds, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. | John Minchillo, Associated Press

“We the People.” With three simple words, the 1789 Constitutional Congress revolutionized the principle of sovereignty. Our government did not receive its power from the states as the Articles of Confederation articulated, or to a distant king as our British cousins demanded. No, the United States of America is sovereign to us, the people.

We often discuss what “We the People’s” rights are. But what about our duties? If “We the People” really are the sovereign, supreme and ultimate authority over the government, do we not have an obligation to our government to set the example? Indeed, we often blame our politicians for the division our country is facing. But do we not elect these individuals? Could the incivility emanating from the halls of power be an accurate representation of us, “the People?”

As news of the degradation and destruction at the Capitol unfolded, I was saddened at the analogy. The Capitol — “We the People’s” house — was ransacked and destroyed just as our homes, relationships and communities have been fractured by the political and ideological poison of hate. “We the People” have allowed politics to drive a wedge between us and our fellow Americans. And we most certainly have not lived up to our constitutional duties as sovereigns over this great country.

Now is the time, America. Fight this hatred with compassion, kindness and unity. Reach out to someone you disagree with. Talk to those whom you have nothing in common with. Make relationships, and give “We the People” a chance. It is up to each and every one of us. So start today.

Mikaela Cook

Orem