We have just passed the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ speech. It was given on June 16, 1858. It was a morally courageous speech which probably cost him the election but it spoke wisely to the state of the nation then, living an existence where half of the nation was free and the other half slave. His words were wise that day saying that a house divided against itself can not stand.
Today, we too, are divided, where the question is whether our Republic can stand and continue as we are ? Are we so divided between blue and red states that we can not find a way to compromise and work together for the good of the nation? We increasingly find a wider gulf between the shrinking middle class, those who are in poverty and the wealthy 1 and 1/2 percent. A few states have talked about seceding, while others have passed laws to attempt to nullify federal law. Social issues have grabbed the headlines, in state after state as state legislatures attempt to mandate laws that affect a woman’s health. Religion is being used as a wedge to divide us.
These are not the days for sunshine patriots. This is the time to have an honest discussion about the course that our nation is taking.
Politics is a word that has become viewed with distaste by many Americans as corruption has made many believe that their views don’t count. Apathy exists and anger is not far behind. Today’s politicians are not held in high esteem, to the contrary, trust in our institutions is at an all-time low. Therein lies the danger to our Republic. We are divided, perhaps not as much as the time before the Civil War, but I don’t think many among us feel that the state of the nation is good.
We are just finishing our weeks birthday celebration, at least on one day, the 4th of July, we celebrated our common history and that whatever our differences may be, we are still Americans. We share our strengths when we are attacked. What is troubling now is that when there is a disaster, instead of pitching in to help our neighbors some of us aren’t so neighborly anymore and say stop we have to pay for it first. Sorry, this attitude has to stop.
So how do things get better? What can we do to have things improve? We can start talking to one another and more importantly we can start listening to one another before it is too late. We should say enough of partisan politics, enough already with ideologically based politics and the politics of destruction.
There is nothing wrong with compromise that is what politics is all about. If we held on to our principles and never gave in on anything nothing would get done and our Republic would dissolve. We would no longer be a nation or a place made up of 50 states but a place where 300 million plus live, but they would be living as individuals, alone.
Life is too hard to even imagine that we could go it alone. Maybe in the days of the mountain men, they could do it, but times have changed, the days of the rugged individual are dead if they ever existed. We are a nation of towns , villages and cities; we are a nation of diversity and beauty.
We have to be pragmatic in choosing what is best for our future. We need to respect each other. The influence of money in politics has to be reduced. Too many of our representatives in Washington are getting rich at the public trough, through insider information and oher sweet heart deals, while the middle class is shrinking.
May we all take the words of George Washington to heart as our 4th of July weekend comes to an end. Washington in his Inaugural Address, said,” The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican mode of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” Our future as a nation is in our hands, it is up to us to keep the flame of liberty alive. I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.