“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” is an important line from Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech on Jun 16, 1858. The line was borrowed from the Bible and Lincoln used it to talk about the growing division between people who supported slavery and people who did not.
Essentially, the country was divided between Democrats and Republicans. A little over two years later, Lincoln would be elected president and the division would become so great that the country would be split in two and the Civil War would begin.
I really did not expect I would be writing about politics on this blog, but something happened recently that made me feel like I should say something. It is something I have seen developing for some time but recently has become a real problem.
First, I should say that I am a registered independent, so I have no horse in the race. I have never been interested in politics. In fact, I do not like politics, and I like politicians even less. It is my belief that a person can not be elected to a high office, or even be in the running for that office, without being in the pocket of rich and powerful people that have an agenda that does not include helping the average American.
I have not voted for any person for any office in probably a decade or more. I have voted for issues, such as state amendments, but not people. I do not vote for local candidates because I never have the motivation to learn about them and feel it would be irresponsible to vote for someone whom I know nothing about. I also do not vote for senators, representatives, or for presidential candidates for the reason mentioned earlier.
After the Civil War the United States became a single country again and we lived in peace with ourselves for a long time afterwards. We got along with our neighbors and coworkers and did not much care who they voted for in the last election. I think that started to change about twenty years ago.
In 2000, George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore for president after a very strange recount in Florida. Because of the recount and because Al Gore won the popular vote, many Democrats felt cheated out of the presidency. I felt like campaigns are based on getting electoral college votes and not the popular vote so, in my opinion, George Bush out-campaigned Al gore. Many people did not feel that way so there arose an “us versus them” mentality. Bush became a lightning rod for political discontentment. I remember one of my in-laws blaming George Bush for the shoddy condition of one of the streets near her home.
I thought maybe the two sides would start getting along when Obama was elected but the divide became even worse. Then Trump was elected, again without the popular vote, and now it seems like it must have seemed to Lincoln back in 1858. There is such a pervasive attitude now that anyone who does not share your “correct” political views is the enemy. It is hard to believe now that this is America. It seems we are no longer all Americans. Instead, we are Republicans or Democrats.
What got me thinking about all this was a Facebook post by a “friend” who said that if anyone supported the president then she no longer wanted to be friends with them. I thought that was taking politics too far and it is scary to think she is not alone in this attitude. If this attitude spreads like it seems to be doing, we could be looking at a second civil war. Anyone who’s political beliefs do not align with our own is now the enemy. That is scary for me because I do not fit nicely with anybody’s political beliefs.
When Donald Trump was elected, I wrote my cat’s name as a write in candidate because I felt that my cat would make a better president than Trump or Clinton. That angered a coworker of mine who said, “not voting is a vote for Trump (which made no mathematical sense) and that I “was what is wrong with America.” I never really thought I was what is wrong with America but now I see that she was what is wrong with America, and probably still is, for her intolerance to other people’s opinions.
When I posted on Facebook that I voted for my cat because I thought that he “cared about people more then those two,” my best friend called me a liar, twice, and went on a rant about how I was dragging Hillary’s good name through the mud. Really? I was attacked by my best friend for that? The truth is my cat cares about people quite a lot.
I have for a long time thought it was best to have the House of Representatives and the Senate controlled by opposite parties. This way one party cannot easily ram through legislation that might be bad for the country but good for those rich individuals that have politicians in their pockets. Plus, it is always good to have opposing viewpoints because both sides are usually at least partially right. So even if the intentions of the legislation is good, it is still good to look at it from all sides because there are often unintended consequences in the noblest of causes, and it would be good to have someone point them out.
Try to imagine an America where everyone is a Democrat, or everyone is a Republican. Both scenarios would scare the hell out of me because nobody would be there to question whether what they were doing is right. All you would need then is a tyrannical leader and you would have another Nazi Germany.
So, thank your lucky stars that we are a country that is free, for now, to have people with opposing viewpoints. Go out and make friends with people from the other side, because you and I and this country are better off with them here.