Lincoln's 'house divided' and our disrespectful ingrates

On June 16, 1858, after being selected by the Republican Convention to run for an Illinois U.S. Senate seat as tensions over slavery between North and South were mounting, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech, cautioning, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

July 4, 1858, marked the 82nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the 13 colonies, marking their July 4, 1776, commitment to become an independent nation. But Lincoln wondered how many more Independence Day anniversaries would be celebrated by a united America. A bloody civil war ultimately raged between April 12, 1861, and May 9, 1865, becoming America’s deadliest conflict in history, claiming an estimated 620,000 lives.

Ever since that day in 1776, there has always been a certain reverence about the July 4th date. Interestingly, three of our first five presidents (and Founding Fathers) died on that day. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed on July 4, 1826, while James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. Our fourth president, James Madison, almost made it to that pinnacle date as well, dying a week short of it, on June 28, 1836 – the last surviving signatory of the U.S. Constitution.

The Fourth of July also came to have special significance to Lincoln during the American Civil War. It is that date, in 1863, that many scholars consider the conflict’s turning point. Two important Northern victories were tallied on that day – the Battle of Gettysburg and the Fall of Vicksburg.

With such history and import attached to July 4th, it is not a date to be disparaged. However, in an America today that is the most divisive it has been perhaps since the Civil War, there were those who felt it necessary to do so, desecrating the country and flag so many American patriots cherish. One of these was Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. A black activist who does not hesitate to play the victim card, she became the youngest poet, in 2021, to recite her work at a presidential inauguration.

Apparently, in search of the spotlight again, Gorman chose this past Independence Day to achieve a liberal’s dream trifecta, mocking our country, our flag and our national anthem.

Her Independence Day work bastardized our national anthem with the following opening. (Note: Be forewarned this “poem” was written by a 24-year-old adult and not a child):

O say can we see, by the Gone’s early flight,
What so loudly we failed at the mornlight’s past gleaming,
Whose flawed stripes and strifed scars, through the perilous plight,
Our wan hearts, we watched, stirred and valiantly screaming.

U.S. Army veteran Joseph Raymond Goulet passed away on July 4, 2022, at age 99. He was in the first wave of the World War II Allied invasion force to land at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. One can only hope Goulet, who was courageously fighting his way across France at the age of 21 – three years younger than un-American poet Gorman is now – died before ever hearing about her poem. It would have been heartbreaking for him to learn he was leaving behind an ungrateful younger generation lacking any sense of patriotic unity for the country he loved so much. Although living alone to the end, he undoubtedly had heard about those of Gorman’s ilk who were doing so much to destroy the country.

There were 16 million veterans who served in World War II. It is estimated that less than 240,329 were surviving as of 2021. With the youngest of these in their 90s, we are losing approximately 1,000 each day. One of the surviving veterans, who turned 100 on June 29, 2022, broke down in tears during an interview saying that what America has become is “not what they (his fellow soldiers) died for.”

Silver Star recipient Carl Spurlin Dekel explained, “People don’t realize what they have. … The things we did and the things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain. Our country is going to hell in a hand basket.” He lamented, “We haven’t got the country we had when I was raised, not at all.”

Dekel is not alone in how he feels about America. Respondents of a Pew poll earlier this year overwhelmingly agree, as a whopping 78% are dissatisfied.

Meanwhile, as liberals still call for defunding police, little recognition is given to the important role police continue to play in containing what is readily becoming a lawless America along the lines of the old Wild West. A mass shooting that was supposed to occur July 4 did not, as police acted on a tip, arresting two illegal aliens who had collected a cache of weapons for the attack.

Interestingly, some of those who have actively jumped on their soapboxes to denigrate America are, perhaps, now recognizing, despite its problems, America is the least worst country among the global community.

Topping this list of regretful ingrates most probably is American basketball player Brittney Griner who spent this Independence Day in a Russian jail cell after pleading guilty to smuggling drugs into the county. Facing up to 10 years in prison, she is pleading with the U.S. State Department to help get her out. This is the same ingrate who decided not to respect the national anthem at her games by remaining in the locker room until it ended – all to protest the death of the criminal Geroge Floyd during his arrest for yet another crime.

And finally, one liberal author, seeking to spoil this year’s Independence Day for us, wrote an article entitled “July Fourth is a sham – only reparations can make it real.” The author cited a quote by Frederick Douglass – a 19th-century African American abolitionist and author who had escaped slavery – taken from his 1852 Fourth of July speech.That quote is one liberals often use to suggest Douglass held antipathy for America. However, they do so by failing to put the quote into the context Douglass intended. In his speech, while he queried, “What to the American slave in your Fourth of July?,” delivered when slavery still existed, it was actually an affirmation that the Declaration of Independence and principles of the nation’s founding were still redemptive in his hope to end slavery.

We need to heed Lincoln’s 1858 warning about a house divided. It is clear today our divided house is in desperate need of repair and reunification. It is doubtful this will be achieved by a disjointed Congress. It will only be achieved by American voters making their position clear this November. Doing so hopefully will enable us to enjoy next Independence Day free of the contemptuous disrespect we have witnessed this year.

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