What do we, as a nation, become on Wednesday?
Do we stand together, united as one, under our newly elected president or do we remain apart – distanced by our ideological beliefs?
There are many who are concerned over the rift exposed throughout our nation during this election cycle. At the polarization that has occurred. At the emotions evoked and stirred.
I am not one of those. I am unconcerned over the rift – although I am concerned over the reasons for the rift. And I reject calls to simply fall behind any elected leader.
Yesterday I wrote about Congressional Gridlock (see: Embracing Gridlock) – specifically why Congressional Gridlock can be a healthy outcome, a desirable objective – a symptom of a properly functioning Republic.
Our Constitution was specifically designed to provide for gridlock.
I would argue a nation is at its most dangerous – and in the most danger – when it is fully and equally united behind a single leader. It’s a time of unquestioning.
This seems to occur for one of two reasons. The first would be an external reason to unite – the most obvious being a time of war. The second would be the rise of a cult of personality – the powerful charisma of a specific individual who manages to capture an entire nation. Often, these two situations overlap and become exponentially more dangerous. Sometimes one leads to the other.
Then there is the other course, when division grows so great the seams of a country rip asunder. It has a name. Civil War. It has only happened to us once and for far, far greater reasons than any we face today.
Our safest course is, and always has been, healthy division – even contentious division.
A national balance of power – the fulcrum stemming from its citizen’s varying beliefs.
Despite my argument for healthy division, some may still decry our current national status and plead for unity.
To them I would ask this question.
When did it become my moral obligation to rally behind a leader I believe to be ethically, morally and legally corrupt?
I would argue exactly the opposite is required. I believe it is my moral obligation to stand up and speak against that leader. I would be negating my duty as a citizen of this great country by taking any other course. And saying nothing is simply silent support. To paraphrase the statesman Edmund Burke:
All that is needed is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Let us celebrate this great nation through our contentious discord and discourse.
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