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A House Divided

March 30th, 2010

As of the date of this writing, the Obama Healthcare Bill has just passed the House and Senate.  The vote was one of the most heated and divisive pieces of legislation in our time, possibly of all time.  The bill passed the House of Representatives with no Republican votes in support of it.  It was without a doubt, an all Democrat Party piece of legislation.  The House of Representatives is a house divided.  The U.S. Senate is a house divided.

There is a particular verse in the Bible that goes something like this, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”  And in another place it says, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  As a matter of fact, out of the four gospels, the only one that doesn’t contain that particular scripture is John.  Jesus was the speaker of these words and they should be heeded by us as wisdom from the Master.

It is evident that partisan politics is at an all time fever pitch in America as Republicans and Democrats fight over every piece of legislation with a down the middle split on every issue.  The two parties seemingly cannot agree on anything.  Washington DC is the most divided place in America and possibly the world.  The American people are just as divided as their political affiliations.

Everywhere you look in our public life you see a house divided.  If you observe, you will soon learn that nearly everything about America is and always has been divided to some extent.  Consider these; North and South; East Coast and West Coast; Republican and Democrat; liberal and conservative; black and white; capitalist and socialist; pro life and pro abortion; and the list just goes on and on.

We have always been a people that relished a healthy debate.  We systematically align our colleges sports teams to be competitive and aggressive.  Another part of academia is the debate team.  Our professional sports leagues are competitive.  Competition is just the American way.  But in the past few years we have become a different people; a people who are more polarized and divided than ever before.  For those of us who have been around this old world for a long time, it is evident that something is different in America today.  Something ominous, unseen and foreboding has changed us into a nation of differences, replete with isms and schisms.

It is the opinion of this writer that the primary ideological difference of the American people is liberalism versus conservatism.  It is almost as if there are two species of beings living on planet Earth with very different perspectives of how life ought to be lived on this planet.  It reminds me of a Startreck movie where the Earthlings and the Klingons are battling over very different ideology.

As I write this piece I find it very difficult to write about liberalism and conservatism in an unbiased way, without injecting my own philosophies and prejudices.  But, I do see things in a certain way and I do object to the other philosophical ideology, in the same way that the other side objects to mine.  So, no matter how careful I try to be to present both sides, I am human and cannot help but inject my own points.  Oh, I believe in the right of all men to have their own opinions and make their own choices, within reason.

I have pondered this dilemma at length and meditated on it’s causes and I have come up with some definite ideas as to why we are a “house divided”.  It seems to me that when you compare the make up of a liberal and a conservative, you come to see some interesting primal differences; very divisive differences that have come to the point of pulling apart the very fabric of this nation.  Lets look at each of them and see if we can come to a conclusion of the matter.

The conservative folks that I know are mostly middle to upper income, fairly well educated, hard working, patriotic people who believe in God.  They were reared in a home with certain principles and standards and were generally taught to play fair, work hard, pay your taxes, be loyal to God and country and live and let live.  They are pro life, pro 2nd Amendment, pro Constitution, pro military and pro America.  They stand, place their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America.  Many of them are former military and some are combat veterans who would do it all over again if they were called on to do so.

You find most of the conservatives in the South, Western Plains, and Southwest; basically the farm and ranch country of America.  On the other hand, you find most of the liberals in the Northeast, Great Lakes/Midwest, and West Coast; generally the industrial and entertainment industry areas.  You find that conservatives are generally Republican and the liberals are generally Democrat.  Rural folks are generally conservative and urban folks are generally liberal.  Many whites are conservative while many blacks are liberal.  You also find that most pro life folks are conservatives while most pro abortion folks are liberals.  Straight people are generally conservative and gay people are with few exceptions, liberal.  Well, I think you get the picture.

Why is that though?  Why are we such a divided people?  What has caused such a rift between conservative and liberal?  It is no secret that Obama supporters are liberal and Obama opponents are conservative.  I admit that I am at a loss in adequately describing a liberal because I just don’t understand the liberal mind.

I used to think that the word liberal simply meant someone who believes in liberty.  That is not an adequate definition because liberty itself is seen in a much different light by the two factions.  For example, in our pledge of allegiance we say, “with liberty and justice for all” but liberty really mean different things to different people.  And, justice also means different things to different people too.  To the conservative justice means upholding right in society by application of the laws of the land, which often means locking criminals away from society.  To the liberal, justice means reformation of the criminal instead of incarceration.  Or, it could mean a whole arena of options such as parole, probation, shortened sentences, plea bargaining, and early release.  Those ideas have been tried over the past several decades and have not proven to be that successful.

How often do we hear on the national news about a child or young person who has been kidnapped, raped and murdered by a registered sex offender or child molester who had been released from prison?  Immediately everyone starts shouting at the courts or parole boards for releasing such an animal on our society.  All of these things fall back on the great gulf fixed between conservative values and liberal values.

There is an area of this national difference that greatly concerns me and that is the growing separation of the races in America.  Just this week we have seen on television news where one faction is blaming the other faction for being racist and bigoted because a reported racial slur was hurled at them.  Then it is reported that there is not one person who can testify that they heard it; not one microphone picked it up; not one camera caught it.  Even if one person shouted a racial slur or word, they blame the whole crowd for the act, and label every person in the opposition as the “enemy”.  That is very dangerous talk and very explosive accusations.  This is the kind of thing that could be the spark to ignite a race war in America.

Considering the great chasm between conservatives and liberals; the great gulf fixed between Republicans and Democrats, and the high emotions that drive each faction, you can see the potential for disaster in American politics and life.  In other words, this country is teetering on the precipice of destruction from within.  American society has never been so divided.

What should be done; where should we turn?  What is the answer to this dilemma?  I certainly don’t have all the answers but I do have my own opinion as to where America should turn.  I think we should turn to the Lord in our times of trouble.  I have observed that most folks naturally tend to turn to political remedies for this problem.  The truth is, politics is what got us in this mess to start with.  In addition to turning to the Lord, we conservatives should try to do our part to see that we are not burdened down with an oppressive government.  If we truly are “One Nation Under God” then we should act like it and turn the battle over to Him.  At the same time, we should not abrogate our civil responsibility to strive for a greater nation.

Yes, we in America are a “House Divided”.  We are split on party lines and ideologies but we are still Americans.  We should each do our part in striving to make sure this nation remains a bastion of liberty and freedom.  Whether or not we succeed depends upon what “We The People” do with our government and those who govern us.  After all, the 2010 elections are just around the corner.

God Bless America!

Jim Hethcox

hisservant Jim's America

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