Brother Against Brother

The Constitution of the United States on fire. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

Guest Editorial by 2soon2b4got10

Here we are the start of 2019, to what may possibly be a turning point in American politics. I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts with ya’ll for several months and to get feedback on how you view the last couple of years. I wrote this awhile back ( believe it was around Veteran’s Day of last year. )

I remember reading, when I was younger, a quote from Gen. Douglas MacArthur: “I am concern for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.” That has stuck with me for the better part of my life. It’s a measure of how much trust and confidence I would place in our leaders.

Duty, Honor, Country.

Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you owe this nation to be, what you should be. To me, they are the cornerstones of the ‘American Experiment’. Something we’ve been working on for almost 240+ years. It’s one thing to stand there and wave a flag and say how patriotic you are, and it’s entirely something else when you’ve given a part of yourself to that flag.

I was in our Veteran’s Day parade and saw an old man along the roadside that had no hands to wave it. Instead, he ( or someone had ) taped 2 flags on his wheelchair. And there they were, flapping in the breeze with him sitting there with this broad smile upon his face. I was so moved that I left my position to go over to give my respects. He was a like me, a Korean war vet. We talked about the squadrons we fought in and the good friends that we lost. He got that far away look in his eyes, that look I’ve seen so many times before. All I can tell you is that you never really get over it.

We started talking about politics and one thing lead to another. Like me, he had great concern on what’s going on now. Come to find out that he was a Democrat, but did not vote in the last general. He said he couldn’t vote for either. There was no trust there. We exchanged numbers and I had invited him to Christmas dinner with the family. His wife died several years ago, leaving no children and it pained me to think that he would be alone this Christmas. I think of the thousands, if not millions, of our vets in the same boat as he and I pray that someone will seek them out and share with them their good fortunes and their fireside.

Something most Americans are NOT thankful for is the state of the country’s political discourse, with 86 percent of the public having a negative view of it.

It’s not unusual to hear people wonder out loud if the United States is really one country anymore. In the past, almost every U.S. president has invoked language of national unity, even at times of deep division like the Civil War.

Trump is different. He has no patience or time for those niceties, which is why his constituency likes him.

But yet, his followers don’t find a problem with that. I thought a president led an entire nation, not just his voters. And they can’t for their life understand that this is a great concern for this country.

Introspection is called for. Our government is broken and we are too caught up in partisan name calling to fix it. We have lost our center. Our moderation. Our compromise. When times are as dire as they clearly are, there is little sand left in the hourglass to contemplate the best strategy to correct what ails us. The level of uncivil discourse is symptomatic of very deep anxiety over the future of humanity in concert with raging flames fanned by Fox News for profit rather than media for information. Those folks who still clearly identify as Republican have their heads so firmly implanted down a gopher hole they are incapable of rational thought anymore. I legitimately have little patience for those that would willingly see a nation divided and the rest of us destroyed.

I think right-wing media is to blame for a lot of the hate and misinformation that is spread. I have shared facts with Trump supporters but found that I cannot reason with them. They have their own set of facts, frequently from Fox News. I tell them don’t believe me but look it up themselves from a long established trusted news source. When people have fake facts from a questionable news source, you cannot reason with them. In fact, they may call you names…. as this is something we’ve all been through. In other words….. look at both sides of a story. Don’t believe the first one you hear. Our nation deserves at least that much.

The fact is that Trump is reaping what he sowed. He was one of the most divisive and negative presidential candidates in modern history.

No society can survive if its people cannot achieve general consensus on certain fundamental understandings regarding the nature of the person and of society itself.

Bruce Frohnen , Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University College of Law

As Americans consider the survival of their own amor patriae we might reflect on just how old our story is. We love stories of exile and return, destruction and redemption. When Moses sent the Israelites across the Jordan, he instructed them to put up memory stones to mark their journey and their story. Americans have put up more than their share of memory stones, and are just now living through a profound process of deciding which ones will remain. But as we look deeply into just what our own amor patriae means, and whether it can hold together, we might think hard about what inscriptions we want written on the memory stones of our own times. We might draw one from Douglass in 1867: “We ought to have our government so shaped that even when in the hands of a bad man we shall be safe.

David Blight, ‘The civil war lies on us like a sleeping dragon’: America’s deadly divide – and why it has returned, The Guardian

When we have a nation where three quarters of the populace do not feel safe with Trump at the helm, you’d think that his followers would try to be a little more understanding on why we feel the way we do instead of using hyperbole to get us to see their way of thinking.

No people. I am not a Democrat nor am I a liberal, and I certainly did not vote for Hillary. I am, however, a fiscal conservative, true to my convictions and dedicated to equality for all men. Because I didn’t vote for Trump doesn’t mean I am unAmerican, just the opposite. I am a free thinker that looks and weighs all the facts that are out there. It’s up to each one of us to come to their own understanding of what sounds reasonable or not.

Will America keep dividing and soon resort to open violence, as happened in 1861? Or will Americans reunite and bind up our wounds, as we did following the upheavals of the 1930’s Great Depression or after the protests of the 1960’s?

The answer lies within each of us.

Every day, we will either treat each other as fellow Americans, with far more uniting than dividing us, or we will continue on the present path that eventually ends in something like that of a Civil War, and we all know that this would play right in the hands of our country’s enemies.

We have discussed this many times on this site. We have all dealt or at least tried to deal with people of ignorant views….. all to no avail. Again, I ask myself, how can we as people be civilized, in an uncivilized society?

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