The events that unfolded last week in Washington, D.C., will stain the fabric of our democracy for the rest of our days. The images of insurrection in the Capitol are as much our legacy now as putting a man on the moon. It’s a stark contrast of what happens when we choose to embrace what divides us rather than what unites us.

There’s no doubt we all want the same things. We want the satisfaction from a good day’s work. We want a warm bed to sleep in. We all want safety and security for our friends and families. We all want our children to enjoy success greater than our own.

While our opinions differ on the best way to achieve these goals, time and time again reaching consensus and moving forward together has proven to be the most effective option.

In times of tragedy, like a death or natural disaster, we come together to mourn, recover and rebuild. In this moment, our national tragedy is manmade, but the solution is still unity and together we can mourn, recover and rebuild.

I’m proud of the pragmatism Kansas Farm Bureau employs to advocate for the interest of farmers and ranchers. We have and will continue to work with leaders of all stripes to advance our grassroots policy and organizational goals.

I must admit, I’d much rather work with leaders willing to tell hard, uncomfortable truths than ones who would placate me with promises that will never be realized. One of the best things we can do right now is demand truth from our elected representatives, no matter how unsavory it may be. We can overcome a difference of opinions, but we will be sunk by differing versions of reality.

When our forefathers declared their independence at the birth of our nation, it’s said Benjamin Franklin said, “we must all hang together, or ... we shall all hang separately.” For nearly 250 years we’ve been strengthened by our unity and built one of the greatest societies of the world. For it to continue, we must choose to see the best in others. We must strive for consensus in areas where it’s obtainable, and we must continue debating in good faith in those were we can’t.

Last week provided a compelling example. A few politicians entertained the idea the election results could be challenged. A mob stormed the Capitol in hopes of changing those results. In the end, the mob lost, and reality was certified. That result isn’t guaranteed in the future, and we now must choose if we want to continue on a path that will fray the fabric that holds us together or if we will rise to the occasion and let the stain fade as we have with other dark days in our history.

As individuals, it’s our duty to listen to each other if we want to mend and heal our nation. If we do this together today, I can promise you tomorrow will be brighter in our United States.