We are all saddened by the sights and sounds that emanated from our nation’s capital last week. The images that exploded suddenly and with consequence into our daily routine are symptoms of the great fissure that exists within our country.

Not since the civil war has a gulf this great been seen in this nation, on this soil we call America. The last time Congress was attacked was more than 200 years ago.

As leaders, it is a time to heal our nation; we can’t default on our responsibilities to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, and ensure domestic tranquility,” as the pre-amble to our constitution states, neither can we defer those responsibilities to politicians and pundits. In fact, could be argued that the latter two categories—on both sides—have been chasing an ideal of America that’s more divided than united, albeit for their on personal gain.

We can start by viewing certain events differently than they are being portrayed by some in the media. I was disheartened to hear some political pundits claiming that certain actions by private companies to remove social media accounts due to content they felt violated their policies, was an aggressive act against an entire class of Americans. The monologues by these outlets pushed a victim-mentality, which only further divides the nation. In reality, the action by a private company is nothing more than that–an action by a private company. All of us are free to take similar actions on our web sites. The key word is free. Free citizens protested in Washington (I’m excluding the rioters from this example), free citizens protested by removing content and free citizens reacted by quickly trying to spin up alternative social media sites. No act of government imposed upon anyone, anything last week.

While there is no foundation to condone the speech of some to call for the death of anyone, let alone the Vice President–what we are witnessing is our freedoms being freely exercised. That is something to celebrate. The action of last week by the rioters who broke the law and stormed Congress are not acceptable. Watching a free people exercise their rights, however, is something to acknowledge and remember.

Regardless of which side of the aisle we are on, we are all Americans and we’ve witnessed how powerful—and alive—our freedoms are in this country. And, I believe, that’s a perspective from which healing can begin.

Healing, however, doesn’t start in Washington, D.C. It starts here, at home. Let’s be proud to be Americans first and partisans second. Let’s help those we influence to become the change we want to see and not wait for—or expect–others to lead us there.

Here’s to continuing to form a more perfect union in 2021.