On June 16, 1858, in a speech to delegates at the Illinois Republican State Convention, where they chose him to be their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln said that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

I am reminded of Lincoln’s words every time I tune in the television news or pick up a newspaper. Except for the Civil War, has there ever been a time in our nation’s history when we were more divided? It seems like nobody really cares what’s good for the country anymore, it’s all about promoting their own agenda and running down the other side, no matter what they say or do. In the process, they have all lost any credibility they may have ever had.

A case in point is President Obama’s announcement this week of the start of the American troop pullout from Afghanistan. Immediately, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham criticized the plan.

It doesn’t matter that we are engaged in yet another war that is dragging on forever, wasting American lives and dollars. Or that the American economy is in a shambles, and a lot of our citizens believe that the money spent in the war could be put to better use back here at home. No, a Democrat announced the pullout, so it must be wrong.

At the same time, CNN reported on Monday that Democrats, with the approval of the White House, are likely to introduce some new immigration reform policy by the end of the year. While everybody in Washington seems to agree that there is little possibility Congress would pass a major immigration bill in an election year, Democratic sources told CNN  they wanted it to be a “contrast issue” against Republicans, most of whom emphasize tougher border security.

Did you catch that last part?  They know it won’t go anywhere, but it’s a way to show the division between the two parties. Couldn’t that time and effort be better spent working together with the Republicans to achieve something positive? But why the hell would anybody from either side of the aisle want to do that

And it’s not just Democrats against Republicans. Look at all of the hand wringing and nonsense over gays in the military and same-sex marriage. To hear a lot of people talk, it’s all a giant plot to turn the entire country into one big anything goes orgy.

I’ve said before, one of the bravest soldiers I knew when I was in the Army was, in his words, “a flaming faggot that should have been born a WAC.” But I can’t think of anybody else I’d want covering my back when things went bad.

As for gay marriage, somebody told me recently that allowing this to happen would destroy the very fabric of American life and destroy the sanctity of marriage. Really? How does it harm the relationship I have with my wife if a gay couple want to be married? If gay marriage is legalized, does that mean I’m going to automatically jump ship and find myself a man to love? I just don’t see it happening.

Here’s an idea – how about we put all of the nonsense aside, forget the name calling and rhetoric, stop arguing about whose is bigger, and get back to just being Americans again? If we did, and if we started working together for a common goal, maybe we could get this country back on track again.        

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28 Comments on A House Divided

  1. Susan says:

    Nick – I agree completely, but fear that what we wish for may be in the realm of pure fantasy……cooperation and progress just don’t make the news as entertaining as conflict and controversy….

    And to make matters worse – the election is still a year away, and already I HATE hearing all the political garbage in the media…..please finish your next book soon so that I can continue to escape into my little world of good books!

  2. Ed says:

    Nick

    The quote is Matt 12:25. Lincoln was borrowing the quote , he did not write it. Do you really want gays in the Military. Look up the disease associated with the life style. Do you know the average lifespan of a Gay male? It is mid 40’s. Do you not see the degeneration of society? I believe your implying there is not as causative relation between the moral decay of society and the current situation. I would differ

  3. Leslie says:

    I also agree with your statements, as do many others. If a poll was taken, how many other would agree? So many people I speak with voice the same opinion. What will it take to make our politicians listen?

  4. Amy says:

    Amen. Why don’t you run for president? Comon sense

  5. Dee Fisher says:

    I also agree–what makes the most sense (cooperation) is usually the thing that gets pushed to the side. The real root of the problem is excessive self-interest with no kind of human feeling for anyone else. If we don’t work together, what will eventually happen to us?

    I have a special interest in the gay issues being pushed around right now, as a number of my friends and some relatives are gay. I know several gay couples that have a more stable relationship than other straight, married couples I know. Yet they’re not allowed to formalize and legalize their relationship. If celebrating strong relationships is going to destroy the fiber of American morality, then that morality must be pretty weak indeed.

  6. Janna says:

    You are entirely right again, Nick! We don’t have television and this is one time in the political cycle I am so glad we don’t!

  7. Joyce Space says:

    I agree. My husband said we are becoming more and more like a third world country in the way we handle our politics. It makes me sick!

  8. Denise Gray says:

    Amen Nick, amen! Now if we the voters would just get out act together and vote all of them out….

  9. Bob Jae says:

    I agree we need to elect statesmen and not politicians.

  10. Nick Russell says:

    Ed, There are already many gays in the military, in education, in politics, and probably a couple in your famly. I’d try to make you understand how wrong your thinkng is, but I can see that your mind’s already made up, and I would just confuse you with facts.

  11. Melissa T. says:

    Did you ever notice that those who quote the Bible the fastest are also the ones most filled with hate?

  12. Suzanne Ashlock says:

    Nick, you didn’t need to publish this under “Bad Nick.” There’s nothing “bad” in this opinion!

  13. Walt W. says:

    Sounds to me like you may have already jumped ship the way you seem so enamored with the gay lifestyle and promoting it.

  14. Dennis M says:

    Well said Nick! And Melissa, very good point about a the “bible thumpers”. Make one wonder doesn’t it?

    As far as the adversarial politics goes, I agree that it seems to have gotten out of hand. I do take consolation though in the words of some historians, who say if politicians form the 19th century were to return today they would be amazed at how we have cleaned things up compared to that time in history. I think the difference today is the pervasive media coverage of every little hateful comment.

    I guess all we can do is try to vote for the intelligent and civilized – if you can even find them – and hope for the best.

  15. Ron Butler says:

    Nick – your reply to Ed beat me! There is and always have been gays in the military, just as there is and always have been gays in the gym locker rooms!!

    Basically agree with what your main point is. I do think we have had several other major divisions in our country. The opposition to the Viet Nam War was one of those times. I also think that the civil rights of the ’60’s was another. It’s frightening to see our reactions to that movement and Dr. MLK on old TV footage. However, I think what makes this era more frightening is the cast in stone doctrinaire stands on both sides with the “winner take all” attitude. (Does that make sense?) We seem to have lost sight of doing whats best for the country and doing good for the most deserving. At least with the civil rights movement, you knew that those injustices would be overcome by the common good of our people. Not so sure now!

  16. John says:

    If Obama would say, THE RICH WON’T HAVE TO PAY ANY TAXES-EVER, the republicans would still reject it because HE said it. And I’m upset at the democrats for not backing Obama. After the republicans saying NO to everything for the past 3 years, they have given up. The country is going down the drain and nothing is happening. It would be great if both sides would start working for the people instead of the corporations that have bought them. But we voted them into office and we can vote them out too.

  17. Dave B. says:

    There is a movement going around to deal with these politicians that don’t care about the citizens they were suppose to represent. VOTE ALL INCUMBENTS OUT! NO MATTER WHAT PARTY! This will send a message that they have to listen to us for a change, not their own political agendas.

  18. Paul Stough says:

    Once again the famous quote of Pogo comes to mind, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us”.

    We have the exact political system we deserve!

    When you look at how few people participate in the political process, it is a wonder our system works as well as it does.

    The problem is not the elected politicians we have, but the problem is the system in which they operate.

    It is my considered opinion that our elected officials do not run the country, but our elected officials are simply go betweens between the lobbyists that truly run this country, and the people who vote.

    I also believe that the last election results had been just the opposite, things in this country would not be that much different.

    Every politician who was elected last election was elected by a majority of the people who voted, and has to at least pretend to represent them. Because so few people actually are involved in politics other than voting on election day, and those that are the “activists” of the parties are usually on the extremes of the party, so potential candidates have to cowtow to these extremists in order to get their party’s nomination, and it is awful hard to back track on their extreme positions in the General Election, which has the tendency to drive the “centrists” of each party to the sidelines, which results in the parties moving farther to the extremes.

    This is followed by many of the “centrists” of each party leaving the party, and registering as “no party”, which results in many states where then you have no say in who the nominees of the two major parties are.

    Until we as a country change campaign laws on who can legally contribute to campaigns, and who has the “right to petition their government for redress of grievances”(AKA as lobbying), things will not get appreciably better.

    Paul

  19. Chris Guld says:

    Paul,
    I heartily agree with you! Campaign and election reform is a necessity. Good people can’t accomplish good work in a flawed system. We have the best government that money can buy! (Mark Twain) How can politicians possibly get anything done when they have to spend the majority of their waking hours fund-raising? Then, how can we expect them not to be partial to those who give them the money? They need to get their money from the people, not from corporations and special interest PACs. and, NO, corporations are NOT people!
    I just read ‘That Used to Be Us’ by Thomas Friedman. He doesn’t just expose our problems, he also offers strategic solutions. Now I’m reading ‘Republic Lost: How money corrupts congress’ by Lawrence Lessig. His main point is campaign finance reform. I highly recommend both books.

  20. Dave says:

    I think it’s only going to get worse now that “Corporations are People” and will be able to make unlimited secret political donations to their political puppets.

    The reason we don’t have gay marriage or civil unions isn’t because of homophobes like Ed. It’s because companies and governments would have to contribute the same insurance that heterosexual families receive.

    Follow the money. It will almost always lead to the real root of the problem.

  21. Lloyd says:

    Now,Let me get this right in my head.We are are all caring people who values diversity in others.So,we will all jump on Ed because he has an opinion different than ours.

  22. Paul Stough says:

    Diversity is over rated.

    Paul

  23. Bud Wang says:

    Great blog and love the stand-its seems some are so bent on fearing what they chose to demonize any objectivity is lost. Minds made up don’t confuse me with the facts.

    The political process is not working as designed, not sure we have any potential of it turning around in our lifetime. Your spot on.

  24. Allan says:

    Although Obama was elected as President of the USA and assumed the position of Commander in Chief he had no military experience. He should have left the gay issue to the leaders of the military that know better than him what would be best for the military. The President was tying to play politics and repay those who supported him with money and manpower. He is doing the same with the unions now. Instead of being influenced by pressure groups The President and Congress should do what is right and best for the country.
    There are actually some in Congress that are working diligently to cut our countries enormous deficit and keep spending under control. Unfortunately there are others that would like to keep on spending at the expense of the taxpayers. I wish that more would use common sense rather than trying to use tactics that have proved not to work. I am all for working together for the common good. Should Congressmen agree to something that they know is detrimental to the good of the country for the sake of compromise. I think not. They should represent the people that elected them, not lobbyists or special interests or people that donate vast amounts of money. I would re-elect a representative if he or she actually did a good job of representing his constituants. I will do everything possible to remove a President, Senator or Representative that did not represent me and the best interests of the country.
    Our country was built on a good foundation. Problems are not with our foundation but from people that abuse the principles that have made this country great.

  25. Paul Stough says:

    There will be little or no common ground amongst our elected representatives, when there is little or no common ground amongst the citizenry.

    Paul

  26. Rob Fox says:

    Growing up in England, I was too enveloped in my own country history to focus much attention on the USA. Only now that I’m here, with so much time on my hands, have I realised what a unique path was was drawn to bring us to this point. I can think of no other nation or place like it.

    The issue for modern day Americans is that, for the vast majority, you have been enjoying the froth on the champagne of the last great empire. Just like the British Empire that you finally despatched in the financial ruins of WW2, you now have to adjust to your new situation. Oh, I don’t doubt that you will be up to the task. I just hope that it doesn’t take you as long as it did for my home country. Just like the alcoholic, recovery requires an acceptance and admission of your sorry state.

    You see, “we the people”, unless we are engaged, become the noise of daily life behind which the rich and powerful hide their true intent. Gradually, over many years, we reach a place that nobody can recognise. We only know it’s a bad place.

    Enough of this ………. must go winterise the 5er ………. there be snow coming.

  27. T & R Martin says:

    I will forever be grateful to Bad Nick for giving us a forum to express ouselves as no other venue does. We are living at a time while we are still able to do this. How fortunate to be an American. One can be technically born an American but still have loyalty to a foreign concept. We must separate our friends from those who want to harm us. Jealousy indeed does exist & many would like to take us down. There were those residing in our country who cheered the “ATTACK” of America on 9/11/01. Not all Democrats hate the rich just as not all Republicans hate the poor. Rich and/or poor is a relative term. If your bills total $4000.00 per month & you take in $3000.00 per month you may be considered poor where others may think of you as rich. I do not even dislike the “rich” because it is a relative term & the so-called rich have given me jobs over my lifetime. The point is that America is the land of freedom & opportunity, & that is why people hate us. Once folks realize that first & foremost Americans love this country & want the best for it, we are basically NOT DIVIDED & we will NOT have a “House Divided.”

  28. Andy Baird says:

    Here’s “tough guy” actor Clint Eastwood’s take on the issue, as expressed in a recent interview:

    “What I really believe is, let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone. These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of. They go on and on with all this bullshit about ‘sanctity’ — don’t give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”

    Pungent, but well put. :-)

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