United we may strive, but divided we definitely are
September 10, 2021
The recent political events in Texas got me thinking a bit. As a Catholic, I've never been a fan of abortion. As a Democrat, I value the personal freedoms and rights all people should have, whether rich, poor, connected or unaffected. As an American, I value the right of its citizens to choose their leaders and to pass laws that reflect their wishes to be self- regulated.
But I am disturbed by the manufactured crises that politicians use, frequently, to divide the people, making it easier for them to conquer the opposing sides and hold power and control. Such manufactured crises, lately, have crept into our local school board meetings disguised as outrage over obscure legal theories and safety issues. Vote me for me! I'll stop the schools from teaching theories that aren't even being taught! Vote for me! I will put guns in every teacher's desk to protect the students and also prevent your kids from protecting themselves from a serious virus.
It won't be long before the crazies start to run our government, rather than leaders who truly want to serve the public. It's a dangerous path, and it's not hard to accomplish in a democracy such as ours. Anyone can run for office, and if you get enough votes, you win. I want voters to understand how to recognize when they are being played, and I want voters to keep electing leaders who are truly interested in serving their constituents, rather than serving some political agenda.
These tricks to divide the people have been used for a long time. Back in my mother-in-law's day, it was evolution. She taught high school science in the public schools out East. Evolution, a science-based theory on how humans (and other living things such as plants and animals) evolved over time, was chosen by the powers that be to divide the people into two sparring groups, and it worked.
Woe to anyone who could possibly assign a scientific explanation for God's greatest creation, and it wasn't hard to get people heated up on both sides. The one who had the most agitated voters would win the election, and it gave a nice cover for the candidate's positions on the real issues.
Evolution and religion are not incompatible, of course. In fact, the two overlap quite a bit. But for some people who can't understand the difference between weather (what is happening in the atmosphere right now) and climate (how the atmosphere responds over time), it's either one or the other. If you are interested in science, you hate Jesus. If you love our Creator, you must vote against the charlatan. An amazing number of people fell for it.
I'm not suggesting every controversy is made up. I am suggesting that some people are willing to use a made-up crisis for their own personal agendas, because they've seen how embroiled we all can get when an issue touches us personally. Try it yourself. Ask your friends and co-workers about soda pop: Coke or Pepsi? We suddenly start arguing about which beverage is better. Some with the opposite view may actually start to get mad at you. Soon, everyone is divided into two camps when, frankly, most of us don't really care. Division works.
Remember the public outcry when the city decided to upgrade the old pond at Pinehurst Park a few years ago? We needed to decide between a sand-bottom lagoon or a concrete pool. It was possibly the greatest debate we ever had in this town, and some neighbors were upset with each other over the differing views. Today its a non-issue. But many are still mad at their neighbor; perhaps they don't even remember why.
Or the Ten Commandments monument. Who's opposed to the Ten Commandments? But the sudden movement to pull them off public property caused a huge outroar. Again, it pitted neighbor against neighbor, and some actually ran for public office on that issue. Eventually, the monument was moved to a new location, and became obscure and forgotten, just like before the outcry.
It's sad that so many issues like that are used to get us arguing and to keep us divided and distracted. I'm not going to argue these issues with you. But I will argue how destructive a society is when, to further their own agenda, some are willing to violate the very principle of constitutional government.