Divided We Fall


Its one thing to be conquered by an enemy but quite another when defeat comes at your own hands. Sadly, that appears to be exactly the fate the USA will suffer, like a hungry wild animal eating her own young, except this isn’t about survival, it’s about greed and selfishness.

I read a news article yesterday that addressed the enormous political divide currently at work in our country. Oddly, BOTH Democrats and Republicans view the other as lazy, selfish, closed-minded and ill-informed. The percentage of those polled on both sides who felt this way was 30-40 percent, with that figure taking a sharp increase if they were engaged in the political process.

I so often hear how the root of all this problem is our “turning our back on God,” such as the singular line in the Pledge of Allegiance or the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer in our schools. Yet all of those things were begun during the 1950s post WWII, not from the roots of our nation.

Our ancestors wanted freedom of religion, and it was one of our primary reasons for departing what is now the United Kingdom. So much bloodshed has taken place in the name of religion, so in a place where freedom is held so dear, why is such a problem in our own backyard.

I fail to understand why the same people who claim to hold the laws of God so dear are so willing to rob the freedom of others who worship differently. How much clamor would there be if the Jewish community rose up and lobbied that more of their beliefs should become the laws of our nation? What if the Catholics or Buddhists demanded the same? Why are their beliefs of less value than those of various Christian faiths? The final point is not specific religion, it’s about people of good character, and they can come from any background and they all can be American.

I was told Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility, and I agree with that. The spending of government tax dollars should be held to the highest standards, and its use should be for the benefit of the people of the nation. Wasn’t that the whole purpose behind taxes, so that the nation we live in could function for the benefit of all? Isn’t that the concept of how we can accomplish more together than as individuals?

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…”

Isn’t a republic where we vote to elect officials to represent the voice of the majority? Doesn’t that mean the voice of all citizens, no matter their faith, gender, or ethic history?

“One Nation, under God..”

If we value religious freedom enough to make it part of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, why can’t this hold the broader meaning of our heritage? Why can’t it represent whatever faith we pray for in this nation? Why can’t we be intelligent enough, understanding enough, and respectful enough to grant our neighbor the same freedom we hold so dear for ourselves?

“…Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!”

Aren’t these next few words filled with as much meaning and passion as those preceding? Have our ancestors, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors not shed blood or given their lives for these words as much as the others? Are these not the root concepts on which our nation was founded? Even if you invoke your religious faith to this question, are they not the words of fairness, decency, and universal love put forth by virtually every faith practiced in houses of worship?

If there is one common thread I have noted through both religion and that of people with heart, is the saying that “I learned what was most important when I was a child. The truest lesson of life was The Golden Rule…Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Treat each other as good as you would treat yourselves. Doesn’t that simple truth reach every decent thing we should be doing as a country? Yet we demonize each other on a daily basis, and nowhere is it more prevalent than in the realm of politics. This fact is both sad and distressing since this is supposed to be the body of people to hold this country together rather than tearing it apart.

Until we stand together as “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL,” we are doomed to destroy ourselves. We must realize we have differences, and that civilized compromise is the way we employ kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. Until we stand together and choose people to lead us not based on their wealth but their character, based on their goodness and not religious beliefs, based on their responsibility to the nation and not themselves, then we speak hollow words filled with ideals we aren’t living up to.

“Faith without works is dead…” We should have the best schools in the world for our children, the best care for our elderly, infirm, and veterans, as well as a place where no child should go hungry. When we proudly announce that America is the greatest country in the world, we should be able to point to all the examples of why it’s true, not the individual accomplishments of a scant few. This country wasn’t built on the concept of the professional athlete where few succeed and many fall by the wayside. We are the example of inclusion, and if you don’t believe that then ask where you would be today if your ancestors never came to these shores.

If we believe in the Pledge of Allegiance and the country we call home, then we should echo the words of the late and former President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.”

Our government officials should not be viewed as contemptable tyrants, and if they are not worthy then we should elect someone who is better. We should not be choosing the lesser of evils but the more pure of heart. Our taxes should not be seen as a burden but our contribution to making a better America for all who live here. If we don’t believe in the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty then tear her down rather than promoting a lie.

Personally, I think we are better than that, but too many voices have been silent for too long. There are too many other countries that exemplify “we” as opposed to “me”…and we should be setting that example, not cutting each other’s throats. They are not countries ruled by communist tyrants nor do they lack freedom. They are not over-run by crime or ruled by warlords. The only real sadness is that they took our own American words of lofty values and goals and put them into action. What a shame that others are enjoying our ideals more than we do for our own people here at home.

Divided we fall.