The longer we plod on through our daily existence in America, the deeper we get buried in inescapable political quicksand.

We see it every day.

It has gotten so deep, in fact, that we could hardly be blamed for despairing that we'll ever be able to escape.

The two-party system, which has held sway virtually since the creation of our magnificent democracy two and a half centuries ago, has always seemed like a terrific result of circumstances that dominated our processes from the beginning.

After all, in the 1780s, our country was a blending of conflicting elements that could have spelled doom before we got off the ground.

We had geographic and climate differences, of course. We had manufacturing states and farming states. We had states that would benefit from European contacts and others for which such interactions would be of little or no value.

We had large, populous states and small, sparsely inhabited ones. That meant some states would benefit from having representation based on population but others for which that would prove stifling. Therefore, our genius forefathers instituted a bicameral legislature that would even out the reward system.

Perhaps the most divisive issue of all was that we had states that relied on slavery and others that considered it a most unconscionable institution.

Yet, despite those seemingly overwhelming conflicts, our country thrived and progressed from the very beginning.

A two-party system developed to, remarkably, enable us to somehow help each other find compromises that demonstrated extraordinary wisdom.

The reason it worked so well was that, despite our differences of opinion – sometimes so deep and bitter that eventual agreement would appear far out of reach – we all knew that the prosperity of our nation was far more important than attaining victory on any single issue.

No issue could rise to precedence over the integrity and the brotherhood we all revered. The United States of America was a definition as well as an address.

Wars, financial crises and other emergencies – even a civil war – could not detract from our unity. Most crises further cemented our determination to act as one in spite of disagreements.

Yet we now are witnessing – maybe feeling would be a more descriptive word – an unraveling of this devotion to the Red, White and Blue.

We now want to know which party a judge or justice belongs to, as if we now accept that party loyalty will suppress innate wisdom.

Members of Congress refuse to act in the people's best interest unless it first comports with their party's best interests. Republicans are more intent on preventing President Biden from appearing to succeed toward re-election than letting the people succeed.

The Democrats similarly acted often to refuse to let President Trump lay claim to a positive.

As a matter of fact, the political disintegration of unity took its firmest foothold during the Trump years. Other than the Civil War, no era in our history was as unfavorable toward American solidarity as the Trump term of office, compounded by COVID divisions.

Somehow, we must find our way back to the America that made us all feel as one.

— Plattsburgh Press Republican

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