Present looks bleak, but history tells us we’ll survive
We just returned from a family vacation where 10 of us, including six grandchildren, were immersed in our nation’s history.
We visited Jamestown, site of the oldest continuous English speaking settlement in America; Williamsburg, near where the roots of freedom were sown with Patrick Henry’s speech declaring “Give me liberty or give me death” in St. John’s Church; and the battlefields of Yorktown, where bloody battles were fought with the help of the French against a British army that did not agree with our vision of freedom from the crown.
We moved on to our nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C., where we saw the fragments of our governments beginning and monuments to our past. We visited the Vietnam Memorial wall and Arlington National Cemetery, where our honored dead are memorialized.
Returning to Hampton Roads, we visited Fort Monroe, site of the famous battle of the Ironclads, the Monitor and the Merrimac, during the Civil War, and the Mariners Museum, where the disintegrated fragments of the once-sunken ships have been preserved.
As I reflect on this amazing adventure into our nation’s past, it occurred to me just how much of our nation’s history contains war. And although it may not seem that we are again at war, we surely are.
While the citizens of this country are being distracted by the latest smokescreen, our country is sinking further into a civil war.
Just as before, brother against brother, tearing families apart, forcing each of us to choose up sides.
Each of us has one or more, sometimes many more, people, family and friends that we no longer communicate with because of the huge political chasm between us.
Whichever side you are on, the divisions seem to get deeper every day, with each of us clinging to our side, running further into our respective corners sometimes simply because we do not want to admit that we don’t agree with our own shaky logic. We have begun to tolerate opinions and actions that just a short time ago would have made us cringe.
Never doubt that this is indeed a civil war, fought not with bullets but with words. But the wounds are just as real, and the consequences are just as dramatic and profound.
We are a divided nation. Divided by hatred, policy, politics, opinions, and party.
This is a crack in the very fabric of our nation. And this time, at this moment in our history, we have no Abraham Lincoln to save us. We don’t have one statesman to guide us through. We have no one.
And while we are busily fighting battles of our self-inflicted civil war on Facebook and Twitter, there is far more insidious war going on behind our backs.
We are under attack from a foreign enemy: A cyberattack on our most precious freedom, our right to vote. And instead of our leaders addressing the attack, as our forefathers did, our president meets with the leader and commander of our attackers in secret, and our Congress busily argues the politics of whether the attack happened at all, in direct opposition to the mountain of evidence to the contrary.
We are in perilous times as a nation. A test that our forefathers could not have possibly foreseen. It is a true test of the durability of the document that we know as our Constitution. We are watching our treasonous leaders betray the vision of our founding fathers by collectively turning their backs on our country.
Will this great nation, whose inspiring history we just wandered through, indeed survive? Or will the remnants of a once-glorious nation only be something that our great-grandchildren visit in a museum?
But then, the other lesson that we learned on our grand journey was the resiliency of our nation and its people.
Our nation has been tested, tattered and tainted, but we have survived intact. And so, once again, shall our country, our union and our document.
Mary Sharpe