Divided We Fall …

“United we stand, divided we fall” – John Dickinson, July 1768

“Divide and conquer” – attributed to Philip of Macedonia

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” – Abraham Lincoln, June 1858


Regardless of whether you are republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, I am asking you today to suspend disbelief for a few minutes and give some thought to an idea that awakened me this morning.

The great divide, as I have called it for the past year, has been in the making for nearly a decade, having its origins, I believe, in the formation of the “Tea Party movement” which appeared to be mainly a response to the election of the nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama. Throughout President Obama’s two terms, there was push and then push-back, until the divide widened and then widened some more.  Already, by 2015, any political discussion was likely to turn into a hostile argument, Congress was rendered ineffective by extreme partisanship, friends and families parted ways, and the nation was primed for one of two things:  a large-scale catastrophe that would bring the people together again, or a manipulator who would further widen the gap between ideologies.  Enter Donald Trump.

While I do not credit Trump with a large amount of intelligence, I do credit him with being devious, for it is what he has spent his life doing.  And he had some help from at least one autocratic leader, Vladimir Putin, who is intelligent as well as devious.  It turned out to be a winning combination for Trump, though a losing one for the people of the United States.

Donald Trump quickly realized that the most polarizing issue in the U.S. was immigration, and his entire campaign revolved around that issue.  He had people chanting “build that wall”, while others were protesting at his rallies in support of human rights.  He claimed we would ban Muslims, for they were terrorists, and we would keep out Mexicans, for they were ‘rapists and murderers’. At its core, the immigration debate is not, as Trump has claimed, about either the economy or national security.  At its core, the immigration debate is about racism, pure and simple.  Donald Trump played his cards well. And we became ever more divided.

Congress, having a republican majority in both the House and the Senate, is also divided, but in recent weeks, there have been some signs that members of Congress are willing to reach across the aisle and work together, for the health care debacle proved that without some bi-partisan effort, nothing could be accomplished.  This was good news for the nation, good news for the people, but bad news for Donald Trump, for his goal is to keep them apart, to keep them fighting on every issue.  And so, he reached out to Schumer and Pelosi, knowing that such a move would anger the far right, the radical elements in his own party.  He never intended, I think, to actually follow through in efforts to work with the democrats, and that, from his perspective, was the beauty of the plan.  He annoys a good portion of his own party, then turns 180 degrees around and makes demands that are contrary to what he discussed with Schumer and Pelosi, thus annoying the democrats.

If there is one thing Donald Trump understands, it is how to bring out the worst in people, how to pit them against one another.

I began this post with three quotations that I turn to now.

“United we stand, divided we fall” – Patrick Henry used this phrase in his last public speech, saying “United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”

“Divide and conquer” – the key elements of which are: creating and encouraging divisions to prevent alliances; fostering distrust and enmity; and encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for other things.  Immanuel Kant, in his Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, cited three political maxims for an autocrat: Divide et impera – divide and conquer; Fac et excusa – Act now, and make excuses later; and Si fecisti, nega – when you commit a crime, deny it.  Trump has done all three of these to one extent or another.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” – The North and the South had come to hold distinct opinions in the question of slavery, and now the issue had come to permeate every other political question.  Lincoln believed that unless the issue of slavery was resolved soon, the Union would no longer be able to function.

This is not the first time our nation has been so divided, however it is, I believe, the first time that our divisions are being manipulated by one person for the purpose of increasing the power of the presidency at the cost of reducing the power of the people.  Yes, we still have the vote, but Trump is taking steps to manipulate that, also, with his voter fraud commission that, given the people who are in charge of the commission, seems likely to remove many, perhaps millions, from the voter registration rolls.

I said early on that Trump would not like the confines of the office of president, that he would not like the congressional oversight and the rules that bind his office.  I believed then, as I do now, that his goal is and has always been, to be a ruler rather than a leader.  I cannot predict the outcome, for I still have hopes that the system of checks and balances will hold, that the people will begin to awaken and see what is happening to this nation, and that Trump will be removed from office before his power is such that he cannot be removed.  That is my hope. The end result depends on each and every one of us.

31 thoughts on “Divided We Fall …

  1. Pretty scary situation, Jill. You are correct when you point out that the current polarization in America is being manipulated by Trump for his own gain. Solution: you guys join Canada as our 11th province and DT is out of a job. Then you declare your independence and start all over with a new president. I’m sure Justin would be amenable!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heck, I would be HAPPY to join Canada … and I wouldn’t even feel a need/desire to declare independence later! Several times in the past year, I have asked my UK friends if they would consider taking us back under their wing … I even begged and admitted that we were wrong to ever leave! But yes, if I could awaken every morning to a pic of Justin T. on my phone instead of Donald T. … I would be much happier, not to mention healthier! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wouldn’t that be something? I loved the anecdote about asking your UK friends if they’d take you guys back! The News reported this morning that Justin didn’t make any headway with DT yesterday – they said that DT hinted that he’d be willing to do a Free Trade deal with Canada alone and dump Mexico. Such a lovely fellow! Pack your bags, Jill!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, a real gem he is. I am sure that Justin is smart enough not to believe a word Trump says until it is signed, sealed and delivered. I think he spent most of his time with Trudeau ranting about NBC, from what I can tell. I believe that if he can, he will scrap NAFTA altogether, for he seems to be on a path of isolationism. And he won’t likely agree to anything that doesn’t favour the U.S. to the detriment of Canada & Mexico. The words ‘compromise’ and ‘fair’ are not in his vocabulary. Sigh.

          Actually, my daughter and I have discussed a move to Canada more than once. It started as a joke, then became only half a joke. I am actually very torn over the internal debate I have been having. On the one hand, I believe Trump is on a course that will destroy the democracy we have, and I just want to get away before that happens. On the other hand, I have a voice, albeit a small one, and I feel a responsibility to stay and fight him with everything I have. I will likely stay here and keep fighting the good fight, but Canada is always in the back of my head.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems to be a global problem. In many countries you can see two (or more) fraction poised against each other. Are we living in the age of polarisation? I guess it is especially extreme in the US, because you guys do everything big. 😉 There is only black and white, no common ground left. And people seem to be personally insulted if you have a different opinion than they have. – Well, we have elections in Austria coming up, let’s see what they will bring. (At the moment there is a lot of last-minute-screaming-at-each-other … you search in vain for a civilised political discussion.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I so agree with you. Both here and in Europe there seems to no longer be a middle ground, or any place for compromise. I don’t like it and it is so counter-productive to ever achieving the goal of global peace. I need to learn a bit more about the Austrian elections upcoming … I never seem to have time to do the research anymore 😦 . I started an email to you about this very thing 2 nights ago, at around 4:30 a.m. … then the cat stepped on my keyboard and sent the bloomin’ message, so i gave up and went to bed. I will finish it tonight or tomorrow, as I wanted to get your take on the Austrian elections.

      I don’t know why all of a sudden the world is so divided, and I don’t see an end in sight in my lifetime at least. Sigh. Hugs, my friend!

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  3. Dear Jill,
    This division is costing the American peoples, bigly. The US Congress representatives just went past the deadline to pass CHIP, THE HEALTHCARE PROGRAM FOR THE CHILDREN. Republicans are holding this bill hostage by demanding cuts to Medicare, for example.
    This bill has always been passed/ funded in the past on a bi-partisan basis. It was originally established by Senators Edward Kennedy, a democrat and Orin Hatch, a republican.
    “We the people” are paying for this dysfunction with our tax dollars. I am not getting good value for my dollar.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree … it seems that We The People no longer matter, but are simply pawns in a game that DDT and his minions are playing. We are used for their purposes when needed, and cast aside when not needed. Let us make some changes in November 2018! Hugs!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If the two sides don’t come together in the spirit of compromise and Trump is allowed to carry on unrestricted then before a war is started with N.Korea that will draw the whole world in, I think you will see the assassination of another President but this time the nation will not mourn.
    xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Perhaps you are right, my friend. And no, I certainly would not mourn … for I would be too busy dancing in the streets! However, I cannot even begin to imagine the fallout if that were to happen. The accusations, finger-pointing, conspiracy theories. And likely his radical white-supremacist Christian base would be out with their 2nd amendment tools, shooting at people dancing in the streets. Sigh.
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, as the MITWH continues to make himself an island, I hope that more will rally against him recognizing he is the lone constant in a barrage of childish name-calling, behavior and storytelling. Today’s headlines are the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which has to give the majority of Americans pause. His childish antics around the serious issue of North Korea has given more than a majority of Americans a legitimate fear. His slow handling of Puerto Rico, then making it worse, is noticeable to many. All of these actions build a case to rally against him. That is a bipartisan effort that is needed. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, that has been my hope for … well, since he first entered the race back in 2015, but especially since he took office … that people would see how outrageous he is and come together to rally against him. But instead, we seem to be pushing further apart. I agree that the repeal of the Clean Power Plan should be a wake up call, but I don’t know that it will, at least among his base, for they seem not to believe any facts, but only rely on Trump’s spin. While you and I see his behaviour toward DPRK as childish and dangerous, his base see it as strength, rather like chest-beating, if you ask me. My hope lies in Congress, as it does seem that many of the republicans in Congress are growing weary of his antics. Perhaps they will eventually become tired enough to take action.

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  6. It is the banksters who run the economy and the countries. They do it for their benefit, not ours. We are writing here about the international bankers, with deep family roots in this. Most of them are Zionists, too. The situation has been decades and lifetimes in the construction of it. Banksters also run the military arms companies. Peace is not in their vocabulary, except as a means to more war. War makes them money. Focussing on leaders such as Mr. Trump or Ms. May, Francois Macron, et al. They all, the politicians and others, jump to their tune. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thanks for sharing your message of hope, couldn’t agree more. Now is the time to unite as Americans and overcome our perceived differences. Politics is very divisive in nature, we really should be more discerning in what we consume thru the media.

    Liked by 1 person

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