I’m just thinking about The Berlin Wall. They’re celebrating that it’s been twenty years since it fell. Twenty years and our own president can’t carve even an hour of his scedule to remark on Germany’s progress. The Berlin Wall was the ultimate symbol. It seperated two sets of ideas and killed 136 people who tried and failed to cross it. But it couldn’t stand forever.
Once again, ideas seperate us. In this economy, no two people or political parties agree about the best way to move forward. We stand opposed to doing nothing or anything drastic. Each of us think our own side is best without reguard for the other or any other points of view. The diagnosis of our problem was given nearly a century ago:
“Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention.
If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.
We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.
Have we no tendency to the latter condition?
Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination — piece of machinery so to speak — compounded of the Nebraska doctrine, and the Dred Scott decision. Let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted; but also, let him study the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidence of design and concert of action, among its chief architects, from the beginning.
But, so far, Congress only, had acted; and an indorsement by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable, to save the point already gained, and give chance for more…”
– Abraham Lincoln’s “A House Divided” speech
Germany would not be what it is today if it’s division had been healed by the other side. America would not be what it is today if it’s division had been healed by the other side. What will we be tomorrow if our division is healed by the right side? the wrong side? Ideas are a funny thing. On paper, America was the strangest idea there ever was. What ideas, on paper, will make certain America’s future is a brilliant as it’s past? What ideas will morph America into an unrecognizable entity? Could you tell the difference?
A house divided, a country divided, a government divided, and a people divided cannot and will not stand for long. So while our president can’t remark on Germany’s progress, I will. Our ‘Cash for Clunkers’ was loosely based on a German program. They have the strongest Gross Domestic Product of all European countries. Not bad for a country smaller than Texas. Most importantly, Germany is united to ensure its future will be a bright one. I’m sorry to say that America is not. Most of us will be caught unaware when we come to realize what Abraham Lincoln meant, we will be all one thing or all the other and we don’t know how to ensure our future because we have not studdied our past.