Reader Opinion: A house divided

If we cannot create an atmosphere of calm acceptance of differences, how will this ever be resolved?

Stack of newspapers on a laptop computer.

Abraham Lincoln said in 1858, before the American Civil War, "A house divided against itself, cannot stand. … I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

In the Civil War, the division was about more than racism and slavery and accepting black people into free society. The war was also about states’ rights and how much the states could go their own way regardless of what the federal government wanted. It was also about ways of organizing labor, the plantation system or free labor.

This nation finds itself approaching a similar situation now, with one side dominated by a white supremacy narrative, with states’ rights again on the agenda as we see in Florida, with the domination of labor by anti-union corporations. Not only states’ rights but also individual rights seems to be a growing issue, trumping older social norms. Most concerning is opposing views seem to be demonized, often creating a kind of paranoia. If those with such beliefs come to power, what would become of those citizens who support abortion and the rights of women or those who support social justice, or more inclusivity for other races, ethnicities, religions, and lifestyles?

If we cannot create an atmosphere of calm acceptance of differences, how will this ever be resolved, hopefully without violence and intimidation?

How would such a structure survive? Does anyone think all of those with different lifestyles, all of those with different religions, from different races or who just have different ideas about the world they want to live in will just meekly go along with that kind of dominance?


How would a peaceful society ever emerge?

Bob Passi


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