No matter how we voted or why we did not vote in the presidential election, there is one thing on which we can agree: The election was too long and ugly, and we’re glad it’s over. And now that election is over, most of us are uncertain and concerned about the future.

Our government has violated what the Founding Fathers called the essential role of government in serving the general welfare and the common good. The Occupy Movement highlighted the fact that the top 1 percent has benefited from current policies at the expense of the 99 percent. Most of us share basic values that can help us challenge this inequality and lack of fairness.

We can unite around wanting to protect democracy with respect for liberty and justice for all. We have a right to decent paying jobs, clean air and water, and safe nutritious food. We want policies to promote safety and freedom from fear of loss of jobs, loss of respect, loss of life. We want our tax dollars to help create caring communities that educate children for the future and take care of the sick, disabled and elderly. We want peaceful solutions to local, national and international conflicts, and to avoid war if possible. We want to preserve the planet for future generations, and we want fair trade policies rather than trade agreements that hurt workers and the environment. We don’t want money to define who candidates are, which issues they address, and whose interests they serve.

Our next president has made sexist, racist, and other threatening and demeaning statements that exhibit intolerance and reflect a lack of respect. Many who voted for Trump do not share those attitudes. We invite those who share nonviolent values to join together to say we will not tolerate mean-spirited attacks on anyone. Despite campaign promises to represent working people, Donald Trump’s Cabinet and other nominations represent the 1 percent, Wall Street insiders and heads of the biggest corporations, who have promoted bigotry, divisiveness and violence and who have profited from inequality, exploitation of workers and destruction of the planet.

We must not leave governing to one individual, political party, or big money interest. Tax breaks to huge corporations and increased military spending won’t create needed jobs or provide education, health care, or environmental protection. Democracy requires us to be informed, active citizens.

We are grateful to Native Americans and allies at Standing Rock who have courageously endured harsh conditions and brutal treatment to protect their land and clean water for all. We can take inspiration from those in the past who have stood up and sacrificed for civil, human and economic rights despite opposition and oppression.

We can work together to affirm our unity as Americans and as human beings, while protecting the diversity and the differences of opinion that have defined the U.S. at its best. No one effort will create the change we seek, but working together, we can create a more sustainable and safer community, nation and world.

We support individuals and groups who are victims of intolerance, hatred, bigotry, religious prejudice, racism, sexism, xenophobia, physical and verbal violence, cyber and other bullying. As persons living in our pluralistic democracy and as human beings with dignity, they, and we, deserve support and respect.

What can a Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine perspective add? We emphasize our mutual dependencies and interrelatedness. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Each individual and group struggling for democracy, equality, justice and a sustainable future is an integral part of an interconnected whole. Not recognizing our interconnectedness keeps us divided and less effective in resisting those who dominate and control the wealth and power.

Therefore, we must understand how war-making, profit-based weapons of mass destruction, physical and economic and cultural violence, inequality, exploitation and the many forms of oppression are interconnected. They express the dominant system’s violent and unjust values and top-down concentrated and centralized wealth and power. When we recognize how we are interconnected, expressing our basic unity with a respect for differences, then we are able to resist violence and injustice and create nonviolent, just and sustainable values and relations. In this way, we are empowered with greater self-determination, and we are able to live value-based meaningful lives.

Ilze Petersons and Doug Allen are members of the education committee of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor. The public is invited to a People’s Inauguration press conference and celebration, featuring organizations working for nonviolent alternatives at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, 96 Harlow St., Bangor. For more information call 942-9343 or visit