(UnitedVoice.com) – It wasn’t so long ago that Americans united around patriotism and doing big things. In World War II, every American did their part to ensure the defeat of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. President John F. Kennedy challenged American’s to think beyond themselves, and America united after the tragedy of 9/11.
Throughout American history, people have wanted a better future for themselves and their kids. We believed in prosperity and that American prosperity was unique compared to other nations. The challenges were never centered around the opportunity for prosperity. It was centered around different philosophies and political theories on how to achieve it.
Both Democrats and Republicans historically agreed that prosperity was good, attainable and that America could do anything if we put our minds to it. American’s were united under the idea that anything was possible.
Unity Created Greatness
In World War II, Americans united to defeat Japan and Germany. Men fought and died heroically. Women worked in factories making planes, tanks, and other items to ensure America won the war. In the years that followed, there was peace and happiness.
We were a country of great ideas and hope. President Dwight Eisenhower created the interstate system and transformed the way Americans traveled. On January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy inspired Americans by saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” The government was transformed to do big and amazing things. In March 1961, Kennedy established the Peace Corps. Ten years later, America put a man on the moon.
Americans were proud of their country. Rich, poor, Asian, black, white… it didn’t matter. Did we have problems? Absolutely, but Americans didn’t hate America.
Disunity in America didn’t happen because of Donald Trump. The seeds were already growing. His election victory was just the fertilizer that helped it grow faster. President Richard Nixon helped to set off the aggressive hyper-partisanship. All one has to do is look at the affairs that unfolded during Watergate.
By the mid and late 1990s, Republicans were oftentimes too aggressive with President Bill Clinton. It’s debatable if impeaching the former president was helpful to their cause. Since then, the political games have only gotten worse as both political parties attempted to one-up each other. Instead of coming together, some Republicans went far-right, and some Democrats went far left – creating the polarization we’re experiencing today.
Perhaps President Barack Obama laid the groundwork for the disunity we’re experiencing right now. In 2008, he said that conservatives in flyover country didn’t agree with him because they “cling to their guns and religion.” Obama was the originator of the “fake news” narrative. He oftentimes boycotted Fox News and used inflammatory language directed at them, and indirectly at their conservative viewers. He didn’t help with racial narratives. Early in his first term, he created animosity among law enforcement by criticizing them publicly – something that a sitting US president had never done before. In 2010, Obama encouraged Latinos to “punish” their “enemies.”
By 2017, it all spiraled downhill. Donald Trump threatened to undo the policy initiatives of former-President Obama. Senior leaders in the FBI attempted a coup against the new president. Senior FBI officials, including the FBI director, supplied Democrats and the media with false narratives about Russian collusion. As a result, the Mueller investigation was launched by Congress. In 2019, Trump was impeached on shaky grounds for a call with Ukraine to ask for help in an investigation into the Biden pay for play scandal that America is now learning about. Every day Democrats have bought the false narrative that Trump, and his followers, are racists, xenophobes, and whatever else they can come up with. Such impassioned terms are only serving to create more division between Americans.
Is Unity Possible?
The days of Eisenhower, JFK, and Ronald Reagan seem so long ago. With days to go until the 2020 election, will America get back to doing big things whoever wins the election? It’s hard to imagine at this point. It seems that the extremes of the left and right hate one another so much they are successfully dragging the rest of us along with them.
Perhaps the biggest problem is the two parties don’t agree that prosperity is even good or attainable anymore. The Democratic party believes prosperity is dependent on the government taking care of people because they are incapable of taking care of themselves. Republicans believe prosperity is possible for those who work hard and overcome the obstacles in front of them and that government tends to inhibit prosperity.
While the Democratic Party seems to disagree that prosperity is good or attainable, it’s worse than that… people are being told they don’t have a chance at liberty, freedom, or prosperity. Democrats assert that certain classes of people are being dominated by Republicans who don’t like them.
How can unity be possible when the government no longer does things that inspire people?
How can unity be possible when some people believe the government doesn’t care about them?
How can unity be possible when senior-level government officials undermine its elected leadership?
Democracy is not a spectator sport. Everyone plays a role in creating a more perfect union. Our country has a proud history despite its flaws. The six American flags that stand on the moon are a reminder of what America can achieve. Our future does not depend on our past. It depends on our present.
We have a moment in time to unite if the people refute the politicians who behave badly instead of empowering them further – on both sides of the aisle.
We can unite if we stop and listen to one another.
We can unite if we agree that prosperity is within everyone’s reach and that everyone can have hope, opportunity, and happiness if they seek it.
Unfortunately, we can’t unite if we choose to be divided and disagree on the promise of America.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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