Sunday, February 12, 2006

United We Stand - Divided We Fall

My blog is apolitical. There are literally HUNDREDS of blogs out there that are exclusively political -- those writers defend their political positions much more effectively than I ever could. So I carefully avoid writing about politics. In my experience few people are rational or in any way openminded when the subject comes up. Most adults have their ideology firmly implanted in their brains and emotions, and they have no intention whatsoever of even HEARING or READING anything that opposes it much less actually CONSIDERING the possibility that the opposing idea might have merit. The only people listening to or reading you are those who already agree with you; therefore, most political discussion is useless. In church jargon, why preach to the choir?

So I typically do not engage in this useless occupation. Nevertheless, I DO have political ideas and beliefs, I DO read and watch MSM news reports, and I DO read political blogposts. This morning I have been clicking from link to link reading only about politics, intentionally trying to get a cross-section of viewpoints. (Who knows why I feel the need to punish myself in this way this early Sunday morning! )

I started with political posts on family blogs such as Blue Star Chronicles, The Median Sib, Reasoned Audacity, and Alone on a Limb. I progressed to one of my non-family regular reads, Right on the Left Coast, whose recents posts were more education-related than national-politics related. Darren did, however, link to this ancient post on Instapundit. I clicked from there to Instapundit's main page and stayed there awhile. I am, after all, aware that this blogger remains at the top of the TTLB ecosystem ranks and is very widely read. I scanned his last week's posts and found little there except links to other people's writing. Obviously this site is an acquired taste. I checked out Michelle Malkin's site, since she was mentioned on several others that I read and since I know that she and Instapundit keep handing off the first-place ball in the blog-ratings game.

I am not even going to link all the sites I went to from there -- it became inpossible to tell which side of the political fence these people were blogging from. Is this one serious or is this supposed to be a parody? Is he actually stating that belief or making fun of someone else's statement of it? I do have to say that I spent quite a bit of time on this post from Dr. Sanity and this one from Guardian Unlimited and found food for thought there. And I found this frighteningly hilarious (is that possible?) Robin Williams political piece at Pebble Pie.

I read several posts at The Moderate Voice and Bull Moose. I also clicked through a few at New Donkey and at The Carpetbagger Report. I was frankly disappointed to find so little at John Again, I won't link all the sites I went to from these. On many of these, too, it became difficult at times to tell whether the posts were serious or intended as parodies.

The bottom line for me is this: While Americans like to display the quote "United We Stand" on bumper stickers, yard signs, billboards, and blogposts, is it pretty clear that we are NOT united. What is disturbingly missing from these slogan displays is the dire prediction contained in the rest of that quotation, "Divided We Fall."

I found this history of this patriotic slogan at

Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!

John Dickinson (1732–1808), U.S. statesman, essayist.
Boston Gazette (July 18, 1768). The Liberty Song (1768) quoted in The Writings
of John Dickinson, vol. 1 (1895).

United we stand, divided we fall! was a motto of the American

The slogan also appeared in Flag of Our Union, by journalist and poet
George Pope Morris: “’United we stand, divided we fall! It made and preserves a
nation!” Poems (1853).

Americans, wake up! United we stand. Divided we fall. Or to use the older phrasing, By uniting we stand; by dividing we fall. Do we want to stand? How much to we desire that outcome? What are we willing to do to ensure that we stand? Is our desire to stand strong enough to make us present a UNITED front to the world in spite of our differing political affiliations? Or would we rather clutch those tightly-held differences and party-lines in our flailing hands as we tumble head-over-hindquarters, democrats and republicans together, in that fatal plunge?

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