There was good coverage in the News-Press of the new president’s inauguration and his pledge to work on behalf of all Americans.
True leaders have dealt with divided nations before this and through humility and compassion, they succeeded in at least giving their countries a chance at democracy.
Nelson Mandela took charge of a country as deeply divided as ours, and his followers insisted upon the prosecution, incarceration and/or execution of their white oppressors who had committed violence. He listened to them but refused, telling them that he could not unite the country that way.
Instead he insisted on reconciliation with the whites that had imprisoned him for decades. In his words, “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.
“Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear … That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”
At Mr. Mandela’s insistence, the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act , No. 34, of 1995 was used to set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which then listened to grievances and the testimony of the accused and was empowered to grant amnesty only if the crimes were politically motivated and the accused told the entire truth.
Nobody was exempt from being charged; members of the police and congress could also be charged. On Oct. 28, 1998, the commission presented its report. The commission was/is regarded as successful and led to full democracy for South Africa.
I would propose that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission be created to unite our country and lead us to full democracy in light of the fact that more than 50 million Americans still believe that the election was stolen and about 33 million think the riots on Jan. 6 were justified.
Rowland Lane Anderson
Editor’s note: The writer is a lifetime Member of Veterans For Peace, the VFW, Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America.