Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The year 2014 is barely a month old. As an optimist by heart, I am still trying to hold on to the hope inspired by the start of a brand new year. I am still looking for the signs of positive change in our state, in our nation and in our world. This past week, however, as I watched some of our national moments unfold, I have to admit that I experienced some dismay.
Like countless other Americans, I watched the State of the Union Address, and later read the transcript on line. Each year, when I watch this speech, I am usually patriotically inspired and encouraged to reach for greater excellence as a citizen of the United States of America. This year, however, I was immediately struck by the dis-unity within the ranks of our leaders.
Division and gridlock has gotten so much worse that even the façade of unity was lacking, as our national leaders were seated, segregated by political party and persuasion. Where was the promise of working together for the greater good the American people? Where were the progressive steps forward towards greater unity? Where was the laying aside of extreme differences for the sake of accomplishment? What has happened to the UNITED States of America?
Early in his remarks, President Obama said:
“After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth. The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It’s an important debate – one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States – then we are not doing right by the American people.”
I certainly can say a hearty “amen to that” — and I wonder, when is this division going to stop? Have we forgotten that “United we stand, divided we fall”? I am reminded by Mark 3:25, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Are we on the verge of a fall? Are we on the brink of a divisive, destructive revolution that none of us ultimately wants? What will it take to change?
This week, I was also stunned to read that former Republican presidential candidate John McCain was formally censured by the Arizona Republican Party because he has “lent his support to issues associated with liberal Democrats such as immigration reform and funding the federal health care law.” The censure means that their party will no “longer support, campaign for, or endorse John McCain as their U.S. senator” because he has “crossed the aisle too many times and voted with the Democrats.”
Is this an example of what happens to a politician when he actually attempts to work with the opposite political party?
I pray that 2014 will be a year of restoration and cooperation so we can, once again, see unity in the U.S.A.
Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with over 20 years of television broadcast experience. Her column is published every first, third and fifth Friday of the month. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with over 20 years of television broadcast experience. Her column is published every first, third and fifth Friday of the month. Contact her at email@example.com.