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‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’

March 24, 2016
Westfield Republican

Those words of Abraham Lincoln were spoken when the country was facing a far different set of circumstances. But the words are as true today as they were 158 years ago when Lincoln was nominated for the presidency.

Today, the country is suffering through another crisis, this one stirred by unbridled ego and fanned by an ever-eager media.

Although the November elections are months away, we can see the pattern of rhetoric that has emerged. And, as rough and tumble, down and dirty as past campaigns have been, this one is setting new lows in political discourse.

A major star of this endless soap opera is Donald Trump, self-described billionaire outsider, who claims to have all the answers for restoring our nation to greatness.

And, at the other end of the political spectrum is Hillary Clinton, the arrogant politician and consummate insider who represents a Washington suffering from chronic incompetence.

When the candidates mount their soap boxes, we're still bombarded with the same old high-sounding cliches... those time-worn, overblown phrases mouthed by politicians election after election down through the years.

But, unlike most of the others who have managed to retain a modicum of civility, Trump has come out with more name-calling, more inflammatory statements, more unfounded lies than any of us older voters have ever heard flung in previous campaigns.

Thus far, Trump has managed to show equal and blatant disrespect for any who would run against him. He obviously feels his stated wealth and lack of Washington connection mean he can play by his own rulebook.

In fact, according to a report on his appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show, when asked who he consults, Trump said, "I am speaking with myself because I have a very good brain."

His accusations and slurs against those who dared to face off with him have revealed a pseudo-politician with the manners of a junkyard dog.

Hillary, on the other hand, is playing the same political game as the staunch members of the party line have played for decades. And, for those of us out here in the grass roots, it looks like the same old, same old all over again.

The major point of Hillary's speeches is to point out forcefully the foolishness of Trump's strategies. Yet very few real plans are forthcoming from her camp.

However, she does get credit for making a positive visual impact. She dresses well and is a master at smiling, shaking hands and having photos taken with representatives of every organization, association, splinter group and coffee klatch across the country.

Trump's tactics have been to develop several wild schemes to get our nation back on track. One bold idea is to deport 11 million people and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. To add to this concept, he would "make Mexico pay for it."

For her part, Hillary uses a rare bit of logic to point out such a wall is an impossibility and deporting 11 million people is "morally wrong."

Trump would also ban Muslims from entering the country, would give the rich more tax breaks and resume torturing suspected terrorists. Clinton opposes each of these concepts.

These arguments are only a fraction of what the country will be treated to in the coming months. And the result of the constant barrage of negativity is deadening the outrage normal Americans feel about the radical and inflammatory statements and claims being aired in the media on a daily basis. In fact, Trump's latest rallies have deteriorated into confrontation and violence.

Recent polls show that a growing number of voters don't respect or trust either party.

Lincoln's statement that "a house divided against itself cannot stand" is becoming eerily prophetic.

God alone knows how this will end.



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