Since rising from the ashes of September 11, 2001, our nation has been at war on multiple fronts. The first front, of course, is our War on Terror, and the second war is the confounding War on National Unity that each party has waged on the American people ever since. In an unwavering mission to “turn out the vote” and score points for each prospective party, the Democrats and Republicans have time and again chosen party politics over national unity. Clearly more concerned with pushing extreme agendas at the expense of our national heritage and overall unity, each side has thrown down the gauntlet in self-interest with no thought of the destruction of our national identity. Every issue must have a side and each side must not bend to the compromise of a single statute or perceived value. We now live in an age where everything has become a zero sum game. To compromise or infuse any pragmatism at all into the political battlefield seems to be completely forbidden.
Pick any issue, and the battle lines are already drawn whether accurately or not. They are then perpetuated by the salivating fourth estate which, with the dawn of the 24-hour news cycle, feeds upon the upheaval of events to support their own ratings and self-interest. Regardless of whether the discussion is on immigration, education, national defense, help for the poor, race relations or any number of other topics, we have been divided by party and not pragmatism. The perpetuation of the myth that you as an American are affiliated only by a political party and not an individual belief system is a complete contradiction of our shared American heritage. In the over 230 years we have been a nation, we have seen the Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, the Whigs and a score of other political parties rise and fall; but the bloodline that runs through the core of this Republic is our individual choice for our united life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We are inundated from both sides with a message that shows us the worst of ourselves instead of our best. While one side touts xenophobia, the other leaves no room for national sovereignty. As one side apologizes to the world for who we are, the other refuses to take an honest look at ways we can be better.
We were handed the mantle from our forefathers, and it is up to each generation to sustain and strengthen our nation’s core. In these modern times, having taken the mantle from the Greatest Generation—who overcame tyranny, saved the world, and built America into the world’s superpower—what have the sub sequential generations done to build on that? After surviving the upheaval of the 1960s, have we become stronger? Through the rebellion of the baby boomer generation, the isolation of generation X and the disengagement of the millennial, what is truly the state of our union? Politicians can wax poetic on the challenges of today for the dreams of tomorrow, but as the Preamble to the Constitution states, what are “We the People of the United States” doing “in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity?”
In this Republic there should be no party, no affiliation and no local disagreement that rises above our calling as proud citizens of this nation. As President Washington stated in his farewell address: “Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”
We should all stand up to say we are neither Republican nor Democrat: We are Americans! We have a proud history behind us and an unlimited future ahead of us. Through pragmatism, compassion and an unyielding desire to be free we will be a shining city on a hill, to help those we can, strengthen our nation and show the world the blessing to live as free men and women.