A house divided against itself cannot stand | John Cashon's Musings | Scoop.it

by JOHN CASHON, Cashon Delivery


It is a difficult time in trying to understand the current political climate in the country today. The good of the many has been replaced with the good of the party and our government finds itself at an impasse for getting any legislation passed before the 2012 election. The people are divided.


Rigid stances define the Tea Party Republican controlled House of Representatives and partisanship is the preference of the day, and in turn, the Democrats refuse to deal with the Republicans unless a compromise is made. Is there any way to break this cycle of destruction?


Is there an answer in our history that can help bring a little understanding to why there is so much animosity today in the country’s political debates that have polarized and paralyzed our government?


In a time when our economy is trying to recover from the ‘Great Recession’, a passage of President Abraham Lincoln’s House Divided Speech, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”, tells us what could happen if we choose not to work together. It would seem his lesson to America would have been obvious but his words were ignored in 1858 before the Civil War as they are today.


The bitter division seen in government and between the citizens of the United States cannot be left to fester without treating the wounds that have been inflicted.


It is true that there have been many times in our history when the partisan rhetoric in government was as bad as it is now but the tactics of absolutely no compromise being used today directly contradicts Lincoln’s timeless lesson.


The economy is still struggling and many are questioning if President Obama has the ability to help it improve faster. We have the history of the ‘Great Depression’ to use as a guide.


According to David Woolner, a Senior Fellow and Hyde Park Resident Historian for the Roosevelt Institute, "It was in August of 1934, for example, that a group of hardcore conservative democrats and republicans — financed by some of the most prominent names in American business — formed “The American Liberty League,” an anti-government, pro-market organization that accused FDR of leading the country down the path of a socialist dictatorship."


The same rhetoric is again being used against President Obama in Super Pac attack ads and many big business owners such as the Koch brothers are the biggest contributors.


David continues, “By the middle of 1934, most Americans understood that the partial economic recovery achieved under Roosevelt in his first 16 months in office had brought the immediate crisis to an end. Indeed, national income rose by over 20 per cent in 1934, but given the unprecedented depth of the economic collapse, the country still had a long way to go.”

We have heard President Obama and the Democrats declare that the economy was doing better but more could be done. However, with the lack of compromise, many question if anything can be accomplished.


Many Republicans in congress believe there is no need to compromise at this moment before the 2012 Election because they believe they can win the Senate and the Presidency, giving them complete majority control over the government.


This is very possible but the question could be asked, “If the Republicans win control of the government, will the Democrats utilize the same tactics that were used to stop any legislation from being passed?” What then?


This division, which threatens to prevent the government from functioning and the country from moving forward during this serious economic downturn, is our greatest enemy. As citizens, we have a responsibility to vote into office candidates that will fulfill their oath to represent the American people above all else.


President Lincoln also stated, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” If you believe nothing can be done, remember, it is our vote that gives that power and it is our vote that can take it away.