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Unity or Division?

March 28, 2024

Is the fate of democracy and freedom in America in jeopardy? Is the decline and demise of America inevitable?

These questions contain words, or dangers, few are willing to acknowledge. They are ominous words or thoughts in their rhetoric; they are more so in their possible reality.

Yet, we must address and resolve them. We are perilously and uncomfortably close to squandering the beliefs and values that have made us one in America.

A former Secretary of State was recently asked this paraphrased question: “What keeps you awake at night? Russia, China, communism, terrorism?” The Secretary replied, “None of these. It is America that keeps me awake at night.”    

We must awaken to a collapsing border policy, polarizing politics, convulsing economy, soaring inflation, vacillating stock market, staggering crime, pacifying statesmanship, accelerating drug abuse, trafficking humans, faltering education systems, declining civility, overwhelming debt, and other issues challenging America.

But our most serious deficiency is the lack of competent and responsible leaders. Our best recourse to overcome this is the dedication and commitment of the American people. “We The People” must act to restore what is good, decent, and honorable in America.

Today, however, we seem more intent on increasing the rancor instead of decreasing the hostility. Whether conservative or liberal, rich or poor, white or Black, city or rural, we tend to demonize those who disagree with us or who are dissimilar to us.

The Left too often characterizes rural or middle Americans as White Nationalists with White Rural Rage. The Right too often characterizes metropolitans as elitists with secretive WOKE agendas.

What’s astounding is these various tendencies have created the conditions, maybe encouraged, perhaps forced, those with opposing perceptions and beliefs to become even more extreme. We become more intolerant. We create greater divisions.

Whatever our spirituality, socio-economic status, ethnicity, geography, or politics, people across America are bewildered by the polarization and prejudices in our politics, our disrespect and disobedience for law and order, our uncivil and virulent attitudes toward differing views, and our unwillingness to compromise or pursue moderation.

I now live in rural Oklahoma, surrounded by farmers and ranchers. I substitute teach in two schools. One is K-12, and one is K-8. We recite the Pledge of Allegiance and share a moment of silence every morning. The planting, harvesting, roundups, and tractors cease as parents attend community and school events with their children. Rodeos and country fairs are incredible family and patriotic events.

In the past, I have also resided in metropolitan areas among people with similar traits who desire to live in safe communities, provide for their families, and educate and help their children fulfill their dreams and achieve their potential. The Fourth of July in our nation’s capital is inspiring, too. We all have similar dreams and aspirations for us and our children. We are more alike than we imagine.

It is inconceivable that there are those who would disparage or demonize either those from the city or country. As Americans, we are the many who became one. We have proved togetherness matters. We are Americans. That is what matters.

As Americans, in the past we shared a sense of humanity and respect toward one another. Unfortunately, the bitter campaign, election, and perverse pandemic a few years ago challenged our sense of who we are and who we want to be.

It was a hard time in America and the pain’s been more for some and less for others, but our hope is we move forward with less, “Woe, Is Me,” and more, “Wow, I’m Me?” Pride in oneself overcomes self-pity and bitterness.

Our quest for diversity, inclusion, and equality is commendable, but we should accept our differences, too. We all have special uniquenesses to share.

We are a diverse kaleidoscope of colors and cultures who united as Americans. We must be “indivisible with liberty and justice for all” to honor our diversity and oneness. We are best when we are We and Us instead of Them and They.

Sadly, nothing in this article is new to us. In our daily lives, media, and engagements with others, we have come to know the challenges and issues confronting us. Sadder, however, is we are taking few, if any, meaningful actions to correct them.

Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to bequeath to us our democracy and freedoms. Throughout our history, succeeding generations have united as one to protect, preserve, and perpetuate our freedom and democracy.

America neither created nor developed the concepts of democracy and freedom. Instead, it was people who loved freedom and democracy who created and developed America. Now, we must act with similar courage and conviction.

Today, we must become a better nation. Our unity matters. We must awaken to our challenges and act boldly to address and resolve them. If we fail to unite, our fate will be demise. United We Stand; Divided We Fall.

Maj Gen John Admire (USMC, ret.) served as an Infantry Marine in three wars and five combat tours. He was a White House Aide, Capitol Hill Liaison, and served on the Pentagon Joint Staff.

This article was originally published by RealClearDefense and made available via RealClearWire.
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