I was in a conversation with several twenty-somethings the other day.One of them said they were listening to some TV pundit who said that considering how divided our nation is today, we were probably on the way to a Civil War. She looked at me and several other people in our group and said, "You think that'll happen?"
My immediate response, without much thought, was:
I'm old enough to remember the 60s. They were just as divided and divisive as today. Maybe even more so. I think we'll make it.That of course was not meant to be a smart-aleck answer although it sounds like it. As I ponder the world of the United States in 2010, I can see how some might think we're at that level of discontent. I know there were those in the 60s who saw that as a time of civil war or revolution or insanity. But we survived.
In reality it is hard to know what will happen in any given nation or any given year or for that matter, any given day. Are these times worse than the 60s? Is this era of division really all that much different than many other times in our history? One of the problems is that we all have short memories and history is only written looking backward. All of the events that lead up to something like a Civil War only point in that direction after the war has started. No one would've predicted the 60s in 1959.
But we as a nation have survived before and I think we will survive again. The never-settled and always-in-motion pendulum of public opinion is part of what keeps our nation moving. No single ideology, no single party, no single point of view has been able to survive as THE WAY. Yes, this is a difficult time. The divisiveness, the anger, the rage, are real even if at times manufactured, manipulated, and micro-managed.
In the end I agree with Pres. Obama when he said on NBC last week that in the end he trusts the American people.