Seven score and thirteen years ago Abraham Lincoln stood on the battleground at Gettysburg and publicly pondered whether “a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal… could long endure.” This great nation, the United States of America, was at the time wracked by a great civil war in the which six hundred and twenty thousand Americans gave their lives to answer that question. This year, two hundred and forty years after a fledgling community of colonies declared their freedom, that experiment has finally failed.
Eight years ago saw a major victory for equality when the first representative of a nationally repressed race was elected by democratic process to the highest office of the land. Barrack Obama became the President of the United States of America. Half of the nation rejoiced. Others were skeptical. Many were simply silent. Thus began what should have been a final chapter in our metamorphosis from a fledgling concept into the great society envisioned by many long past patriots; men and women who dared to dream that man was capable of governing himself. However, what should have been a crowning triumph of the most noble of concepts; democracy, liberty, equality and freedom, has catastrophically resulted in a return to tribalism. Instead of democratic cohesion and societal enlightenment we have found autocratic manipulation, obstinate incompetency and schism.
Where once stood a great nation we now have a society of tribes. We are all guilty. All of us have chosen a tribe or two. In order to make my point let me just ask, to which of these tribes do you belong; Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Black, Brown, White, Christian, Anti-Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Tea Party, Progressive, Anarchist, Feminist, Liberal, Conservative, Democrat or Republican?
When our sympathies and loyalty to these organizations and groups conflict with, and take precedence over, our national foundation of truth, democracy and the order of law, have we not in essence forsaken the United States for tribal membership? This egregious schism into tribalism has brought our nation to a cross road every bit as dangerous and important for this country as that past civil war.
Today we fight a war of ideology. Sadly, today we are losing.
As a result of tribalism, the Presidential election of twenty sixteen has seen two very apocalyptic results. First, the rebellious disavowal of all politicians in the Republican Primary has resulted in the nomination of Donald Trump. Second, the Democrats simply threw away democracy and cheated thereby assuring the coronation of Hillary Clinton. Sadly, both nominees are morally flawed and unfit to be President. Neither is capable of once again uniting our nation and saving this noble experiment in freedom and equality. Both portend doom. Our nation has been torn asunder and now the only viable choice for executive leadership moving forward is to vote Libertarian. A rather uninspiring choice in itself. However, it is necessary.
Neither of our major party candidates seem willing to stem the tide of assaults on the constitution through the abuse of executive power and other constitutional heresies. Hillary has even pledged to continue President Obama’s assault on the first and second amendments.
Our nation will yet survive for a time but, its foundation, the concepts that Lincoln tried to preserve, will be lost forever. A Democrat victory will complete our transition to oligarchy. No one really knows what Donald will do but a cautious approach to the reaffirmation of those ideals held by Lincoln seems to be unlikely.
It is tribalism that has brought us here. Indeed the evidence lays in our readiness to ascribe blame for this disaster to the “other” tribe. However, such blame games are simply distraction. The real reason we have lost our ideals lay not in our disagreements but in our abandonment of a moral base which united us. A good example is; “Thou shalt not lie” which has openly become, “he didn’t win did he?” We now argue over who lies the most and no longer require absolute honesty and accountability from our leaders. We just want our tribe to win. Other lofty moral foundations have likewise been relegated to today’s flawed philosophy of Political Correctness.
At Gettysburg, President Lincoln expressed his desire “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” We now stand as witnesses of Lincolns disappointment. The reason for our decline is there for all to see. Lincoln’s speech referred to it in the words; “a nation under God.” A nation cannot achieve such lofty ideals as freedom and self determination without God. No government ever has. No government ever will. Democracy requires a moral people. Such a moral base has never been achieved without religion to bind that nation together and to promote the degree of selflessness necessary for such a project to succeed. Freedom requires His blessings.
When we, as a nation abandoned the right to the “free ‘exercise’ of religion” in favor of state sponsored agnosticism and hedonism, we concomitantly lost our foundation for freedom and self determination. When we as a nation abandoned God, we abandoned our national gestalt.
Samuel Waen Jensen
Note: this topic is dealt with by Will and Ariel Durrant in their book; The Lessons of History.
It is also interesting to note an eerily prophetic account of a very similar nature, both in time and substance, was related in The Book of Mormon. (3 Nephi, chapters 6 and 7.)