We’ve all probably heard the adage that a house divided cannot stand; it will either crumble internally or it will be crushed by external forces.
This was most famously quoted by President Lincoln who also said that “… the union must, it shall be preserved.”
I’ve been pondering this for several years because our nation’s 50 states are becoming more and deeply divided along so many lines of disagreement that we appear to be very close to testing whether internal or external factions will be successful in rending the fabric of our nation and society.
Before I continue, I must ask you to consider one question as you read: Who will benefit if the U.S. ceases to function as a constitutional republic?
Our system of government includes co-equal branches - the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. The executive branch is charged with running the federal government, executing the laws passed by the legislative (House and Senate) branch, with the judiciary determining if the actions and laws of the executive and legislative branches are in keeping with the letter and intent of our Constitution.
This system is supposed to provide checks and balances such that no one branch can exercise too much power.
I believe this arrangement has deteriorated over the last 50-plus years due to three main factors: the economic stratification of the population, the influence of strident political partisanship, and the abandonment of common morality as a check on destructive human behavior.
These are in no particular order since they are actually intertwined, and I don’t believe one is greater than the other.
Of secondary consideration that facilitate the primary factors are the politicization of our public education system and the major news media - television, print and broadcast.
Today, the only thing I see uniting citizens is either a hatred or a love of President Trump - and while that exists pretty much along political party lines there are some exceptions. In other words, it’s the uniting of the division.
Although many people will deny it, the secular, progressive-leaning people are moving this country toward a more socialist government. Government cannot fix everything; indeed bureaucracies tend to eventually do just the opposite of what they were created for in the first place.
Some candidates have lauded the socialist democracies of Europe without understanding those countries have been forced to move away from their previous policies because they are unaffordable and unworkable.
Good government is expensive. Bad government costs far more in the long run. A bad government is one whose primary aim is to perpetuate itself and its power base instead of pursuing policies that are designed to create the conditions allowing the greatest number of its citizens to achieve their goals.
At the same time, the government should also implement policies and programs that enable people who are in need to improve their economic viability.
Thomas Paine wrote: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
If you find government today intolerable, it’s not just because of one person or one party. We are the voters - it’s our fault; and it’s our responsibility to fix the divisions.
That’s the way I see it.