United We Don’t Stand

Ruth Gadebush

“United We Stand” has long been a heralded phrase in the United States, but currently it describes anything but the condition of our country. We lose that feeling at our peril.

Make no mistake. This is more than ordinary disagreement. Our constitution was designed to provide for disagreement with respect that calls for compromise for the good of the whole.

This nation fought a war over disagreement. We have paid a great price for unification both in becoming an independent nation and in fighting a civil war.

Arguably, much of the discourse of today seems to have its roots in matters that we thought were settled by that war. We are changing the names of schools and destroying monuments recognizing that the honorees practiced and advocated for things that we now consider anathema.

A suggestion: Think of how future generations will look at what we have created. After all, it is the hope that society continues to develop into a more enlightened environment.

Yet, look at our society today. Instead of the carefully thought-out government we have so proudly proclaimed, on Jan. 6, 2021, we experienced a power play that we thought we were immune to, a power play that we disdainfully designate as banana republic action when in another land.

Instead of bringing us together to enforce the government that we have been developing for over two centuries we are more divided than ever. We are even split about prosecuting the culprits in what was clearly an insurrection.

It has become a power attempt by one political party in which previously assumed responsible citizens refuse to consider any balance. Is there any name for it other than an irresponsible grab for power?

When one man, elected by a relatively small number of voters, in his desire to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, third in succession to the presidency, makes all manner of questionable commitments, or if you prefer, a selling of his soul, a bargain with the devil, what will be the result? It is hardly a path to unity.

Nor has it been just an occasional attorney, forgetting his/her oath, who partakes in legal action questioning elections for which there is not one iota of evidence of fraud. They have joined a former president who has insisted on flaunting all the rules of law as well as moral standards. This is a man trying more than one way to disregard any laws that put any restraints at all on him. How can it be for anything except personal power?

When the president of the nation, a president elected by the majority, sworn to be the leader for all of us, gives his State of the Union address and the Congress acts like misbehaving children, what does it portend for unity?

The office is due respect regardless, admittedly difficult when the president displays the character of the immediate previous holder of the office now spending his time further diminishing the office so we should hardly be surprised at the outcome.

Still, it seems there is no way to justify booing, bad language or other spoiled brat type behavior. It is particularly jarring when the president addressing Congress is known for his ethical years of service.

Such bad behavior as that displayed by the Congressional Republicans should be left for political rallies, or perhaps some sports events. Granted, it seems that even sports events deserve a certain amount of decorum.

It is a sad state of affairs when the president of the United States cannot speak before a joint session of Congress, and ultimately the American people, without jeering from those whom we have elected to come together to make laws appropriate for all of us sharing this land. Where are the adults?

It is frightening that these are the people who damn the president for compassion for immigrants—those so-called destroyers of our vaunted nation trying to escape the horrors created by humankind and/or Mother Nature in their homelands.

These misbehaving members of Congress, seemingly devoid of compassion, consider themselves as anointed to rule the nation in their own image, apparently the poor bowing to the rich! We even have a Congress member whose entire resume was fabricated, but members of his party welcome him.

As if this were not enough, the Supreme Court, a bedrock part of our tripartite government, is seemingly more rogue than we thought possible. A premature leak on a decision and a wife of one justice involved in questionable action with a president whose action was under question by the court have come to light.

And now it has become public knowledge that the wife of the chief justice has received astronomical payments for work with corporations who have cases before the court. We expect the Supreme Court to be the purest of the pure, but it has no code of personal behavior and obviously the justices do not have the judgment or the honor to excuse themselves from cases with such obvious ethical requirements.

Without doubt, there are more questions than answers at this time about the state of the union, but we had best be finding some answers if we do not want the nation, this nation, the hope of the world, to go the way of the Roman Empire, to use another common expression. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

For people to peacefully exist together, and peacefully exist must be the goal, we have to find ways to consider the needs of all. In other words, United We Stand.


  • Ruth Gadebusch

    Ruth Gadebusch, a former naval officer, was recently recognized by the League of Women Voters with its Lipton Award for volunteer work in various community endeavors. She was elected four times to the Fresno Unified School District Board, appointed by Governor George Deukmejian to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is an emeritus member of the Board of the Center for Civic Education.

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