Blog: SOTU shows a divided nation cannot stand

11:02 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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Guess I shouldn't have been surprised at the vitriol on Facebook and Twitter during the President's State of the Union address. But I was.

It was a bitter and divisive election back in November and here we are, just three months later, just over 90 days later, and the wounds haven't healed and the Democrats and Republicans are as divided as ever.

They are divided over money, they are divided over gun control, they are divided over jobs. I don't understand it.

I kept seeing nasty and derogatory comments on Facebook and Twitter, making fun of President Obama, making fun of Vice President Biden, railing at the President after almost every one of his proposals. I saw more anti-Obama sentiment than I saw praise for the President.

That was disheartening. I guess it's easier to throw rocks than bouquets.

Now, don't write me off as a bleeding heart, liberal member of the media just yet. Hear me out.

The nicest post I saw was: "Hey, America.... think back to November and the opportunity you wasted"

See, when you think about it, I can't imagine anyone would be against stopping the ever-increasing, senseless gun violence that has taken the lives of too many American men, women and children in the last few years. It's HOW the senseless gun violence should be addressed is what divides the country.

As far as money, we almost went over the fiscal cliff because of partisan wrangling. But is there anyone who doesn't recognize the poverty that abounds in this country? And I'm talking about the poverty of the middle-class, the backbone of America.

And jobs. How many people do you know that don't have jobs, have lost their jobs or are working at jobs that don't pay enough?

Now, I am all for a spirited debate if the goal is the betterment (is that really a word?) of Americans, but it seems like both the Democrats and the Republicans that "we the people" have elected don't seem to see that.

I don't have all the answers. I grew up in a household where my father was a Republican and my mother was a Democrat. My father went to U.S. military academy at West Point and he was a "hawk."

My parents never argued about politics but, rather, stated their opposing views and left it at that. It was up to us, their children, to listen and learn and make our own choices.

I have lived long enough to have watched friends wait for their numbers by birthdate be called in the draft for the Vietnam War. I watched the coverage of President John F. Kennedy being assassinated in Dallas.

I watched a friend come home injured from the war in Iraq, watched as a Purple Heart was pinned on his chest in a conference room at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

I lived through the politics and circumstances that saw four die on the campus of Kent State University on May 4, 1970, at the hands of the Ohio National Guard. As a college student in South Bend, Indiana, at the time, I remember suddenly being afraid to walk across my own campus.

In closing, Americans can't fight its enemies if its enemies live among us.

Back in 1970, Walt Kelly Jr., the author of the comic strip "Pogo" used the following quote on an Earth Day poster: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

That may be a bit lighthearted, so how about this: On June 17, 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech after being nominated by the Illinois Republican Party to be the party's nominee for U.S. Senator. In that speech, he said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

He was talking about slavery at the time but I think it applies today.


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