The Herd

E Pluribus Unum

Brian Foisy, Staff Writer

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It should be noted that for a long time in this nation’s history people said, “these United States are”. This is grammatically correct. Though it is only correct when you think of the states, and the people in them, as separate. It was Abraham Lincoln’s belief, following the Civil War, that one should say “the United States is”. This is also grammatically correct, because when we think ourselves as a collective whole, rather than as a group of individuals, we are no longer separate, but one. The Civil War made us recognize that we needed each other. As Lincoln famously said, “A house divided against itself, cannot stand”. We collectively understood that our nation’s founders wanted us to act as a group. In this society, every civil idea and person could be respected equally. Recently, the powers that be have decided that our nation is no longer one, but many.

 

We have again become a house divided.

 

On both sides, politicians, pundits, and commentators have divided America. In this past election, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump declared the other side to be untrustworthy and suggested you should disregard them and their opinions. If you mark your ideological enemies as “deplorable”, you cannot stand for equity or for any other American ideals. Without the presence of those talking heads who command our nation’s discourse, we could find common ground. The long-revered institutions of media and government have failed us. They have revealed themselves to be weapons of mass destruction when in the hands of the morally and intellectually inept. It hasn’t always been this way. Great leaders who knew what good they could do have wielded the power of their positions and done great things. However, today, the people in these same positions have found it gives them more power when they support division and lead us to a tribal way of living. In the absence of today’s media and politicians, Americans are a lot more alike than you have been led to believe.

 

Through my new column, I invite you to envision a modern world in which all civil ideas and people can be respected equally. America is not just a place for Democrats or for Republicans. America is a place for whites and for blacks; for rich and poor; for immigrants and for those who have long called it their home; for the kids of Parkland and for members of the NRA. If this is what we believe, we can see that America is not an ‘are’ but an ‘is’. This is the kind of environment I hope to respect and create with this column. I will accept the argument of anyone who can civilly bring it to the table, and I will reject all arguments based on falsehoods. I hope that by doing so I can offer a new and enlightening take on the issues that matter most. I hope you’ll join me.

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E Pluribus Unum