By Stuart J. Moskovitz
This nation is in the midst of a crisis. I’m not talking about the economy, or foreign policy or even terrorism. I am talking about a crisis that is worse than even those three. Let’s call it the fourth horseman.
We have encountered crises in this nation before. Many times. There is not a crisis this nation has faced that it has not overcome and become stronger. I believe we can do that with the economy. i believe we can do that with foreign policy. I even believe we can do that with terrorism. For the fourth crisis, however, I need your help. Everyone’s help. Each and every citizen and resident of this nation, no matter where you came from, how you got here, what your race, religion or national origin is, what your political beliefs are.
Without your help, it will be the first crisis this nation does not overcome, and it will be devastating.
When the founding fathers started this great nation, they understood that we had thirteen separate colonies with thirteen different backgrounds, economies, religious beliefs, ideas. They were as different as could be. The entire Constitution was written with that in mind, that we needed a foundation to bridge our differences and become one United States.
We are more divided now than even in the sixties and maybe even during the Civil War. We haven’t gone to war yet, maybe because the differences are so fundamental, so pervasive, so widespread, we cannot divide along simple lines like we did in the Civil War.
This is a problem we have to solve. It is not a problem we will solve with violence. It is not a problem we will solve with insults or discrimination. It is not a problem we will solve with lack of respect for each other’s views or ideas. The First Amendment is the First Amendment for a reason. The founding fathers recognized it was a huge gap in the Constitution and fixed it immediately. Our survival depends on it.
But our survival also depends on civility. There is no amendment requiring civility. The founding fathers actually did not see a need for such an amendment. If they were alive today, they might feel very differently.
As we did at the time our nation was founded, we have different views, radically different views. We resolved those differences by having open and honest discussion, debates in the Federalist Papers, arguments, even loud ones in sessions of the Constitutional Congress. We resolved them because we were willing to listen, debate, refute and resolve.
We do not do that today. It is fashionable on the left and the right to say the other side is stupid, wrong, dangerous, evil. Those who wish to resolve differences are deemed weak, ineffective, useless.
That is a formula for disaster. It is a formula for destruction of this great Republic. We have had eight years of the most divisive politics – from all sides – certainly since the Civil War. We don’t need another Franklin Pierce, either ignoring these differences, or fanning their flames.
After eight years, it is difficult to calculate how many more years we can go without changing course. Possibly four more years may be too long. This November, we had better elect someone who can unify the nation. Someone who insults and belittles, incites violence and divides one group from another, might be good at real estate deals, but would be no more effective at unifying this country than a community organizer.
We will take steps this November to rectify the divisions of this country with an individual capable of speaking calmly and capably, with the ability to be persuasive, not just insulting, or we will face the most dire consequences. This time, Heaven may not help us if we fail to help ourselves.