“A nation divided against itself cannot stand” Abraham Lincoln
By Clyde A. Sinclair, Scouting Committee Chairman
Growing up in the fifties was an exciting yet frightening time. With WWII and the Korean War over, companies were able to focus on consumer goods. This was a time of booming automotive design and production. Housing for the average American became plentiful and affordable, as did almost every kind of kitchen utensil and yard tool.
But the ’50s were also a frightening time. Like myself, many of you participated in “Duck and Cover” drills during school hours, all in preparation for the imminent atomic bomb attack. In addition, the evening news carried stories of the purges that Stalin had used to eliminate his political rivals. Stalin ruled by terror and encouraged citizens to spy on one another resulting in millions of people being killed or sent to the Gulag system of forced labor camps, where they could be “re-programmed” or executed.
As the Russians closed down their Gulag system, Communist China conducted its Great Cultural Revolution from 1966 through 1976; its stated goal was to enforce communism in the country by removing capitalists. During the communist’s ten-year reign of terror, it is estimated that between 500,000 to 2 million people were executed.
Having lived through these times, I find it hard to believe that others of my age are not equally concerned about the comments many of our current elected representatives and media have made regarding the necessity of “re-programming” millions of people. I am particularly disappointed that National Commander Oxford did not address the comments made regarding “re-programming.” Those who have been elected into leadership positions in our country need to know that such talk will not be tolerated. Not in this country.
I remember one particular Sunday afternoon dinner when my father told my brothers and me that the greatest thing about the United States was our right of free speech. He went on to say that equally as great was our commitment to defend another person’s speech even though we did not agree with them. I can only imagine what my father would say about our country today with tech entities deleting comments/speech they don’t agree with, news agencies telling half-truths, and Congress leaders calling for the “re-programming” of citizens.
Our nation is more divided now than at any other time since the Civil War. Why are people so angry? Why do we insist that there is no other option outside the one we have. Why haven’t we worked together to meet in the middle? Have the members of Congress forgotten how to negotiate and debate? Debating and considering a matter only opens up more possibilities and options, and that’s a good thing.
I’m concerned about our country, and I think you should be too. As veterans, we need to lead our nation back to a nation of men and women working together for everyone’s benefit. We need to show respect and concern for all of our fellow citizens whether or not we agree with their opinions.
All of us, regardless of political affiliation, must write our members of Congress and the President himself and demand that equal respect be given to every citizen of this nation. Remember, despite our differences, we have stood shoulder to shoulder in the face of the enemy. In this war, to preserve our nation, we can do no less.