Can a nation so divided against itself continue to stand?

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If you watch government attempting to work at the local, state and national levels, it drives me to  think back to a great book written by legendary newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin: “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

Government today is a compilation of missteps taken by people without qualifications elected to positions they can’t comprehend.  They deal with issues without understanding them and respond through decisions driven not by need but by personal biases and agendas.

They answer not to those who elected them but to a select few, moneyed individuals who decided what will happen based on personal, and often private, agendas.

The problem is not limited to any one party, political leaning or philosophical belief.  The system itself is broken and corrupt and the only people with the power to change it are those who benefit most from its current state is disarray.

I live in a county where my social security payment each month is more money than the average Floyd County family of four earns.  According to the Statistical Abstract of Floyd County that is part of the latest census figures from the United States government, Floyd County has more people working at more than one job just to try and make ends meet — not make or living or enjoy and real quality of life.

The county government started its latest fiscal year on July 1 with a tight budget that has little flexibility to handle emergencies and virtually no contingencies.  Appropriations from the county board of supervisors earlier this week were for six months — not a normal year — because the county may have to make serious budget changes by the end of the year.

Virginia’s politically-driven General Assembly — emulating the United State Congress — went do to the wire before crafting a two-year state budget that satisfies no one, leaves many questions unanswered, and showcases the deep division between the two political parties that define governments here and elsewhere.

Virginia has a Democratic governor and a Republican General Assembly and in a time where partisanship rules, this division means nothing gets done and bitter, party-driven stalemates become the order of the day.

But in an environment where hidden agendas and personal biases rule, even one-party rule is divided.  Floyd County’s Board of Supervisors is all Republican but divisions exist between those who consider themselves moderate and those who answer to the hard, right-wing drumbeat.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield after accepting that state’s Republican nomination as a candidate for U.S. Senator.  “A house,” he said, “divided against itself cannot stand.”

Division and disunity in America at that time would drive the nation into a Civil War.

Lincoln lost the race for the Senate seat but later became the President who had to deal with the war that threatened to destroy a divided nation.

Some historians and social commentators say America is more divided today than it was then.

If so, we need to worry if this house, with all its divisions, can keep standing — or perhaps, God forbid,  if it even should.

2 Responses to Can a nation so divided against itself continue to stand?

  1. Easy solution – throw out the current tenants and replace them with people with common sense and the intelligence to act in the best interests of the citizenry — not the Koch Brothers and others like them. Whether in Washington, Richmond, Floyd County or other localities – voters can act. The larger question is why they don’t do so.

    • Learned helplessness occurs when people are repeatedly subjected to aversive conditions from which they cannot escape. Eventually, they will stop trying to escape the situation and behave as if they are utterly helpless and it is hopeless to try to change the situation. Even when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness will prevent any action.