Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Divided Nation: I believe we are a profoundly divided nation and have been for a very long time. It took a civil war of decidedly Herculean proportions to unite -- albeit reluctantly -- two sides of the slavery and its secessionist states rights issues. Lincoln's true genius, I believe, resided in his determination not only to keep the country together but his ability, after the Civil War, to try to unite the divide. His plans for renewal and healing during the reconstruction period were dashed, of course, upon his assassination. The elimination of white supremacy and eradication of the sentiments of interposition and nullification died with him. History has meaning and, thus, I believe we pay the price, still, for President Lincoln's untimely death. Race continues to be the Achilles heel, the sore that festers, and the ugliness which shows its face through a democratic facade.

It has been, I think, the tragedy of this nation that leadership in the modern era never emerged which had the ability to galvanize our nation to ameliorate this rancid division and concentrate on the issues of our time. Not only did leadership not have the ability to rectify our seemingly eternal divide it, indeed, exacerbated it by using it to capture one group to gain the power of the presidency. Beginning most extraordinarily with the presidency of Richard Nixon who used his euphemistic moral majority law and order code words against the black civil rights uprisings of the late 60's and ending now with the campaign of John McCain trying assiduously to tie Barack Obama preposterously to a man named Ayers, a sixties radical who committed his misdeeds when Obama was eight years old, Republicans have lassoed and hog tied one-half of a mostly white southern and Midwestern electorate to hoodwink them into thinking the Republican Party is about them. They dupe them to believe only they will save them from the black menace and the BLACK man possibly entering the WHITE house. They do not say that outright, of course, but the message is evident all the same. Just who is Barack Obama John McCain asks stealthily. Sarah Palin, a woman of ethical mishaps and a paucity of intelligence screams, too, in her inimitable way with a wink and a beauty contestant smile, and raises suspicions that Barack Obama cannot be trusted. People at their rallies yell, scream terrorist and ask for Obama's life. His life mind you.

Finally, John McCain has raised his voice against the cacophonous hate -filled rants. Perhaps, he does not want to be accused, if God forbid, there is an attempt on Obama's life, of being responsible for inciting a horrific violence which could end this nation as we know it. Nonetheless, he continues his media ads. His unqualified vice presidential choice piercingly suggests ad nauseum the ridiculous suspicions about Obama.

As patriotic as the right wing would have us believe it is, it is a stew of extraordinarily violent unconscionable beliefs where someone somewhere possibly exists who will be encouraged by a mob -like mentality to commit a dastardly violent act to eliminate a perceived threat and consider himself a patriot by doing so. Our leaders often play with our lives and then think a few words can erase all the damage they have done.

Instead, wouldn't it be nice to finally put our national malady to rest and have a leader emerge to resurrect Abraham Lincoln's quest to erase our racial divide which has paralyzed our nation? It would be nice in our perilous time if a John McCain would emulate his so called "party of Lincoln" and say what Lincoln said in his second inaugural address in 1865: "with charity for all and malice toward none let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds ... ." Wouldn't that be nice?