America is greatly divided on many fronts, along political, racial and economic lines. Can a nation divided against itself stand indefinitely? There is a tried and true adage: A divided house against itself cannot stand. Why would we think that it would not apply to a nation?
America has been facing a different kind of “Civil War” for some time. At first glance, you might think characterizing the divisiveness and fighting that America is experiencing within as a different kind of “Civil War” is a bit overstated. But wars are not always fought by armed military forces with guns, bombs, stealth fighters, and other sophisticated weaponry.
Many wars are fought and won with words, ideas, philosophies—often misguided words, misguided ideas, misguided philosophies, and the amorphous “Us” versus “Them” dynamic. America is experiencing that kind of civil war. And it begs the question: Can a nation divided against itself stand?
Why is America experiencing a different kind of civil war? Because we are do divided. Just pause and think a moment.
First, we need to fully understand the meaning of those two words. The meaning of the word civil is distinct from a military matter. Civil means those things relating to ordinary citizens who live in the same country and their associated concerns. It also includes the disorder or conflict occurring between citizens of the same country, which again raises the question can a nation divided against itself stand?
A closer look at the meaning of the word war shows that it is not only defined as a sustained armed conflict between military forces, but also as a conflict between political groups involving hostilities of considerable duration and magnitude.
Given the complete meanings of both civil and war, it can be said that America is indeed experiencing a different kind of “Civil War” with battles on multiple fronts. Sadly, all of the battles are not just a war of words. Some include or have the potential of violence. Can a nation divided against itself stand?
One current pernicious battle involves the persistent charge that the last Presidential Election wasn’t legitimate and that it was riddled with pervasive voter fraud. The vitriol and divisiveness, even violence, among citizens is more than palpable.
More disturbing is the growing concern from authorities over the increasing chatter of extremists threatening even more violence to overthrow the election, still. We all remember the violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the results of the Presidential election.
Where have the values gone that have kept us together as Americans? This is no doubt the most deep-seated division we face as a nation. We all need to be asking the question: Can a nation divided against itself stand?