Divide and conquer?

A house divided against itself cannot stand?

Divide the pie equally among all of you.


We divide to share, but we also divide to avoid sharing. Sometimes, we divide our share so someone else — who has nothing — can have some too.


Lately, dividing seems to involve building walls and separating us from one another. To protect us? It that it?

There is Hadrian’s Wall. The Romans built it. It never protected them. The Great Wall of China did not protect the Chinese from the Mongols.

What are we protecting? Walls lock people in as much or more than they keep Others out. Walls define a prison. Are we going to build a giant American prison?

Shall we rewrite the Constitution to open with the deathless line: We the prisoners of the United States … ?


We cannot wall out the world nor any part of it. We don’t live on isolated islands. The oceans do not protect us from Others. If we are not protected by mighty oceans and mountain ranges that scrape the clouds, how much less effective will be any wall we build?

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The answer isn’t dividing. It’s including. Figuring out — finally –at this late date in human history to live together. In peace. With tolerance, affection, and justice. Maybe even love.

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Different isn’t dangerous. It’s our fear of differences which is the danger.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

14 thoughts on “DIVIDE AND …”

  1. Living in a small country with only 26 small states, each with its own set of laws (something like the American system) gets you used to dividing with no problem. We have four languages, two main religions, but it all works, it is just a way of life. It may be why dividing gives me no problem. If I had lived in Berlin, or even Cyprus where the country and town is/was divided I would probably have a different outlook on the problem. We do have a so-called Röschti Graben in Switzerland which is an imaginative ditch between the French and German speaking part of the country, but we survive. Even the pasta packets in the store are in three languages.


    1. Israel was like that, but smaller. Packages had so many languages on them it could be hard to find the one you needed. Eventually I just knew what was in the package from the picture, which was easier. I LIKE differences. I’ve always preferred living in a diverse place with all different kinds of people and I don’t understand why so many people are afraid of anyone who isn’t just like them. But maybe that’s why you and I both have lived — you still do — abroad while so many people never leave home, even to travel. We like adventure. What’s not to like? Adventure makes life worth living … as long as it doesn’t actually HURT 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. By the way I am reading your book at the moment and have just finished the section about life in Israel. I will come back on it when I have finished the book, but WOW you have certainly collected experiences in life.


          1. Yes, we certainly went places and saw things. By the way I love the descriptions you make about the old city of Jerusalem and the walls. Really gave me a longing to see it myself.


  2. If there are more than three people in a room — it doesn’t matter who they are or what “race” they are — there will always be an “us against the other” mentality. It’s written in our very DNA. Someone’s going to take the lead, and someone’s going to resent it. It’s all about who has the power, and who wants the power — and resources. When it comes down to it, we’re just animals at heart.

    Think about it, people don’t want “them” in our country because they’re “taking jobs” in other words, “stealing” resources. Or they don’t want “them” in our country because they’re different and may upset the existing balance of power… i.e. the “Christian” way of life (which is always under attack). There’s simply no way for us to live in harmony once resources are scare (even if the scarcity is in someone’s head) or if the power structure is challenged, and that’s simply a fact of life. Building a wall is what some consider the “peaceful” solution. In their minds they’re thinking, “At least we’re not going to war.” *sigh*


    1. I know many people have that mentality. I don’t. I’ve been the “outsider” often in my life and I have done my best to never make anyone else feel excluded or bullied. Among good friends, there’s no excuse for it.

      I think wall-building IS a kind of war.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve also been the outsider most of my life, which is why I have that world view. I try to be as inclusive as I possibly can to everyone, and am not the bullying type. Even the closest of friends will have a difference of opinion now and again. What makes them good friends is that they don’t *act* on those differences in hostile ways. But to deny that those differences exist is just… I dunno, turning a blind eye to the truth.

        Trump scares the hell out of me. He really does. And I agree with you (hence the *sigh* in my original post) wall building is a hostile, war-like act. It’s idiotic to think otherwise.


        1. Well, Garry and I took a good look at the actual numbers and Trump is very far from winning anything. He only has 300 and a few delegates … and he needs more than 1200. He would have to pretty much win everything from here on to nail the nomination before the convention. I think if it goes to the convention, he will lose. So that’s a good thing, right?


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