Can A Nation Divided Against Itself Stand?
By Marilyn Snyder
Published in the Redlands Daily Facts, September 12, 2013
Our Constitution is the longest held one in the world, yet living with the Constitution as our binding glue has never been a cakewalk.
Congratulating one of my long-married friends on her anniversary, she cheerfully said with a dramatic roll of her eyes, “Yes, indeed, all these years of wedded bliss.”
What she really meant is that she and her husband have stayed married for longer than most of us have been alive and it wasn’t always easy. Or solid. Or even harmonious.
But they stuck it out, worked it out, loved and lived it out.
Their successful longevity is a lot like our nation’s survival.
At the beginning no one thought the union would last. People’s ideas were incompatible. They quibbled and quarreled. Each side knew they had the winning argument. Both kinds of unions encountered family disagreements, money problems, devastating illness, tragedy and death, but the desire to bind together prevailed.
My friends’ union was blessed by marriage vows, a commitment to stay together for life — and here they stand, 60 years strong.
Blessed by a Constitution that has held us together, here our nation stands, 237 years strong.
Or … is it strong?
Look around at your family, neighborhood, city. Do you see a strong and solid core? Or a nation divided?
Do you see more rampant division and troubling disharmony in the United States today than most of us have seen since the Vietnam War which pulled us apart and left us battered and bruised?
Every day it seems we face one crisis after another such as the Wall Street Journal reporting that the National Security Agency had the capacity to observe more online communications than officials had publicly acknowledged.
Every day another scandal emerges such as the American Legion suspecting it was targeted by the IRS. The American Legion, for heaven’s sake! Small wonder there is a frightening and escalating lack of trust in government and our leaders.
When the highest leader in the land produces speech after speech, sneer after sneer about the “other side,” citizens follow his lead, sniping at their own political opponents.
Result: Families torn apart by political discussions. People afraid to speak their opinions because the “other side” might hear. Extreme accusations erupting as wild and undisciplined as popcorn in the microwave.
You would think that with all the new anti-bullying campaigns promoted everywhere in the country, that someone would have thought to present the program to the Washington Beltway crowd.
In a marriage, when one spouse starts bullying, let’s say a man beating his wife, the wife has options. She can put up with it, try to change the situation by seeking professional help such as counseling or the police. She can leave, even dissolve the marriage.
When one side of the political union forces through Congress colossal and wildly unpopular legislation such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that’s bullying.
In a nation, when one party has control of House, Senate and White House, and thus the ability to pass legislation that is anathema to the other, the other party can’t leave but can only put up with it or try to change it.
Over one half of our nation is adamantly opposed to the ACA, and is working to get rid of it, to stop the bullying. Yet the president continues to denigrate those who want to stop it.
We the people are indeed a nation divided … over many things.
Many of us are dispirited — surrounded by the disturbing reality of constant carping and divisiveness at home and work, in our city, state and federal governments.
The problem is when we’re spending our energy carping at each other, we don’t have the time or energy to tackle our problems and work together to find solutions.
We seem to have lost the means and methods to live in harmony despite our common base as Americans, one nation under God.
Without the desire to make our union compatible for all people, stick it out, work it out, live it out, and, yes, give that dramatic roll of the eyes on occasion like my long-wedded friend learned to do, then the bliss of our long-lasting union may be headed for the divorce court.