E Pluribus...Unum?

I spent some time last night watching the first of the Democratic debates from Detroit.  First, I must applaud the CNN team for keeping the debate going.  I know at times it must have been frustrating for the candidates, but with that many people wanting to speak, time was of the essence.  Yes, at times I would have liked to have heard more complete responses, but, then again, the candidates need to learn to answer in a more succinct manner.  (I think most of us have a tendency to just ramble when asked a question.  Perhaps it is because we are trying to think of an answer even as we are answering.)

But as I listened - and I must confess I did not listen to the entire two hours - some things became very obvious for me.  First, there is an increasing polar divide within the Democratic party.  It was as if two very different visions were being created.  On the one side were the strongly progressives, headed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  I think we could summarize their position and their future for America this way: tax, tax, tax...spend, spend, spend.  Here is the problem with that progressive, socialist position:  It simply does not work...period!  If you tax the rich, pretty soon there will no longer be any rich people to tax as all incentives for creating wealth will have disappeared.  And, if you merely give money away then there is no incentive for people to work.  And what does this create?  Chaos and anarchy.  Why should I be forced to work?  After all, the government is giving me "free" healthcare.  After all, the government is giving me "free" money to live on.  I am amazed at how many governmental leaders are actually proposing giving people up to $1000 or more per month.  After all, the government is giving me a "free" college education.  Why I would need this if the government is going to take care of me and there is no incentive to get a real job, is never explained. 

Estimates for the cost to convert the United States of America into the United Socialist States of America is astronomical - into the tens of trillions of dollars.  And, friends, we already have a national debt of nearly 23 trillion dollars.  This certainly is a debt that will never be repaid in my lifetime, nor in the lifetimes of my children or even my grandchildren.  In fact, it will NEVER  be repaid!  For in order for such a large debt to be repaid, it would mean that we, as Americans, would have to surrender some of the things we have come to expect from our government: things like the FHA program (yes, I know it greatly helps people purchase their first home), FDIC (yes, again I know we all feel safer knowing that our bank and savings accounts are government insured), and EPA (yes I know that it is good to have someone watching out for our environment).  And the list could go on for page after page citing those governmental program we have grown up with.  Yet, each of those programs - as helpful as they are - costs the American taxpayer each year.  Each is an agency bloated with bureaucracy. 

This is the direction, I believe, candidates like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren want to take this nation.  It is a broken system that has never worked in the past.  Why should it work in America?  Well, it simply won't.

Also on the stage last night were those candidates that struggled to maintain a more moderate or centrist position.  Among these were Amy Klobuchar, Tim Ryan, and Pete Buttigieg.  Each one presented a case that America needed to change direction, but not in the radical direction the progressive members of the party envisioned.  They spoke of the need for party unity and for stopping the proclamation of radical ideas which they believed would not work nor ever be approved by Congress.  Yet their voices were drowned out by the shouts from the progressives on the stage.

Friends, what I heard last night was merely a microcosm of America today.  We are a broken and fractured country.  We have forgotten our past; we have denied our heritage as Americans.  We divide over matters of race and ethnicity.  We divide over matters of gender and sexuality.  We divide over matters of religion and non-religion.  We divide over matters rural and urban.  And it seems that we create other reasons for division almost weekly.  And we have come to celebrate in an unhealthy way America's diversity. 

Our nation's motto is "E Pluribus Unum" which means "Out of the many, one."  Those words have guided our nation almost since its inception.  Let's look at those words for a few moments.  "Out of the many": America is a land filled with a diversity of people.  We have come from all corners of the globe.  Very few can claim to be native Americans.  We brought to America our strengths: education, work ethics, morals, and culture.  And, although we clustered in certain locations, we soon realized the need to assimilate into the American culture, including how to speak the American language.  Yes, we are many - this is one of America's strengths.  But how about that word "one?"  In the past Americans have rallied and pulled together.  We witnessed this during the War for Independence.  We saw it during the dark days of the depression as neighbors helped neighbors just to survive.  World War II was won because, as Americans, we rallied together with Victory Gardens, rationing, with the express purpose of helping our men and women win the war.  But we have lost the vision of the "one" today.  We are "the many" with each clamoring loudly to be heard and to have its needs addressed.  If it comes at the expense of someone else, who cares? 

Friends, that is what I heard last night - and I guess I will hear more of the same tonight.  That is what I hear almost daily from the sacred floors of our Congress.  "E Pluribus Unum" has become strangely silenced.  And for that I am very saddened and fearful. 


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