My friend Lisa seems to be borne down by the vicious divisiveness exposed to the naked light of day this past Tuesday.
"The question is," she writes, "will the majority of us embrace the mission set out for us as a nation 250 years ago and find the needs of the commonweal to be a higher calling than or our own vested interests, or will we continue down the mean and petty road of "No, I won't", and "More for me"?
To which I can simply say, sadly; no, and yes, probably.
If you look at the general run of U.S. history the country has pretty much been built on a foundation of "No, I won't.", "Where's mine?", and "More for me."
We want everything and don't want to pay for it. And we don't want to do it anyone else's way unless we have to.
We only make the hard choices when we have to; when there's NO other way, when someone or someones force us by giving us only two choices; their way or the highway, and their way is unacceptable to us.
They forced the people who wanted a new nation to fight them for it.
Even among the portion that DID want a new nation things were...let's just say not all hand-holding and kumbaya. Yes, brave men and women WERE fighting together to forge a new nation.
At the same time, disgruntled contractors were dunning the Continental Congress for damages and refusing to take American paper money while Washington's Army was getting handed its ass on Long Island. Even after the victory a sizable group of the victorious officers nearly staged a coup to get their back pay.
A generation later slaveholder and abolitionist tore the nation apart fighting over who would get what, and then the fight to rein in the robber barons of capitalism and win a decent working wage took decades.
The people who believed that ALL men were created equal, and that all men deserved a safe workplace, decent wages, and a day of rest had to fight for those things, too. They had to make the hard choice to fight or surrender.
Today we have a political right that has taken on the intellectual baggage of a cult; it believes in the good of things that the bulk of us find either ridiculous or actively harmful - tax cuts forever and always, the end of the New Deal, deregulation of everything, crony capitalism, endless war overseas and rigid domestic conformity at home.
It insists in getting its way not because its way is "better" but because it sees that as the only way. As the British Crown did in 1776 and the Southern Confederacy did in 1860 and the Rockefellers and Goulds did in 1889. They didn't see themselves as one side of a debate. They saw themselves as "legitimate" and the other side as rebels, heretics, fools; as illegitimate and wrong.
That sort of logic can't BE "compromised" with; a nation or a group confronted with such intransigence can only - as it did in 1781 and 1865 and through the long fight to tame the malefactors of great wealth - become all one thing or all the other.
Obviously, I don't want to become what Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh want my nation to become.
So, for me, they must be destroyed. For me, their needs are not the needs of the commonweal. They see no reason to compromise with me.
Fine. I will fight them, then.
This factional fighting must be, as the issue of independence, as the issue of slavery, as the issues of the 40-hour week and the 8-hour day had to be, fought to a conclusion.
As with King George or Jefferson Davis or Andrew Carnagie, we are either with Grover Norquist or against him.
And that may mean that the road from here leads through dark places. But any nation wishing to BE one nation must follow that hard and unforgiving road to its conclusion.