I’ve never paid much attention to politics — until recently.

When I was first eligible to vote at age 18 and even 19, I was too busy having fun. My teenage brain didn’t perceive politics as fun, so I didn’t vote. (Embarrassed to admit that now, but I try to be truthful about what I write.)

In my 20s, I was busy getting married and having babies. Politics were on the back burner. I didn’t have the time. Sleep and a quick three-minute shower were more of a priority.

My 20s morphed into my 30s ,and the story was much the same. Chasing kids, taxiing them to activities and volunteering at sporting events all took precedence. Besides, our country was doing well, as it always had during my lifetime. I had no reason to suspect anything different. I voted, but didn’t do much research or give it a whole lot of thought.

We were America, after all. It almost felt like we were invincible.

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I took voting for granted. I took our nation for granted. I took our freedoms for granted. Looking back, I feel the tug of regret.

Now it is 2020, and I don’t take anything for granted. I have seen how life can change in the blink of an eye by something unsuspected and unforeseen.

And I have seen how politics can capitalize on this. In both directions.

We are a nation of people from different backgrounds, different perspectives, different cultures and different beliefs coming together to live as one country. It’s a land like no other. And for the last 240-plus years this has worked out pretty well.

I don’t want this to change. I’m guessing you feel the same.

Please, let’s come together. All of us. Despite our strong beliefs and resolve about what is right and wrong; about whom we like or don’t like; about whether you call them masks or face coverings and whether you are pro or con. Let’s look beyond and find some common ground.

I don’t know the correct way to accomplish this. There are no easy answers because no one side is “right” and no one side is “wrong.” Everyone has their own truth, and I believe each person stating these truths believes them wholeheartedly and to the core.

The bottom line, however, is no one wants our country to fail. There is one truth we can all attest to.

Perhaps we can start with that and move forward from there.

We can all do our part. We all are entitled to our opinions, but divisive behaviors don’t help anyone. Reach out to those who disagree with you and offer honest discourse — not hurtful memes, not anger, not labels, not judgment.

We are all walking our own walk and doing the best we can. And after Nov. 3, we are going to have to live together as one nation, like we have for 200-plus years. Let’s not change that. Let’s not mess this up.

Let’s come together and make this happen. For all of us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

We can do this. We can do this together.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.