Divided We stand
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Any time the oppressed try to get out of Egypt or win justice from pharaoh...
It is not questioning injustice that divides us
Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks expressed this view earlier this month. Obama and the Democratic Party, he complained, are playing the "race card" by accusing Republicans of bigotry. Obama, Brooks said, "divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things."
In the same vein, some conservatives claim that charging Republicans with sexism is just a trick to get women voting Democratic. Or that asking why the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle-class losing ground is class warfare and "envy." And that while Martin Luther King was cool, black activists today are just race hustlers seeking to turn Americans against each other.
It's a familiar political meme. During World War I, Teddy Roosevelt and other political leaders were adamant that any deviation from "100 percent Americanism" -- not supporting the war enough, fighting for unionization -- was treasonous. Lynching blacks or delivering vigilante justice against labor organizers was a sign of a united America, but fighting for civil rights was divisive and subversive.
In the 1950s, critics of the civil-rights movement made the same argument. Anti-communist movies such as I Was a Communist for the FBI and Red Menace accused the movement of setting Americans at each others' throats. Didn't blacks realize America had to be united in the face of the international communist conspiracy? Some conservatives later condemned King in the same tone: Pat Buchanan, for example, declared King "one of the most divisive men in contemporary history."
Segregation and discrimination? Not at all divisive. Talking about them and demanding they come to an end? That was divisive.
And in the 21st century it continues. Conservatives charging Obama is plotting a race war? Ann Coulter saying we should restrict immigration to preserve the white majority? Republicans saying new voting restrictions are good because they reduce Democratic votes? Calling the poor worthless, immoral parasites? None of that is divisive. It's liberals criticizing conservatives for saying that stuff that's divisive!
As Dr. King once said, Egypt was perfectly unified and happy when the Israelites accepted their lot as slaves. It's when they confronted pharaoh and talked of leaving Egypt that the country became divided. Any time the oppressed try to get out of Egypt or win justice from pharaoh, it's divisive.
And let's face it, America is a divided country. We have deep divides on foreign policy, welfare, civil rights, women's rights, religion, gay rights, gun rights, you name it. Some of those divisions have been around since 1776. Talking about them is politically awkward for Republicans at the moment, but keeping quiet won't create unity, just a facade. The fissures won't fade away. They never have.
There are countries out there which display a lot of unity, such as Saudi Arabia, China or Uzbekistan. They don't get that way because everyone there is on the same page, they do it by repressing everyone who dissents. Thanks, but no thanks; I'll choose our divisive, fractured politics any day. To paraphrase Churchill, a country that allows divisive, heated debates is the worst possible place to live -- except for all the others.
Fraser Sherman, : Having graduated college with a degree in biology, no interest in grad school, and no interest in a science career, Fraser Sherman decided he’d try writing. It turned out he liked it. And he was even reasonably good at it. Over the next couple of decades, he sold articles to Newsweek, The Writer, Dragon Magazine (yes he played D&D. Want to make something out of it?), Air & Space and more specialized markets such as Painting and Wallcovering and Gulf Coast Condo Owner. Because he wanted... (more...)