Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all,
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall;
In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed,
For heaven approves of each generous deed.
-John Dickinson, The Liberty Song, 1768
Photo: Garry Armstrong
Throughout the history of this country, the concept that we stand together has been expressed in song, in writing, and at the podium in speech. It was the rallying cry of the Revolution and the days following 9/11. It was spoken during the Civil War and the armed conflicts since. It was the thought of trade unions fighting for better working conditions. We may never have all stood together, but we were never divided at critical times in history. Until now, that is.
From the opening of his campaign until the present day, the leader of our country has worked hard to divide Americans with an “Us versus them” attitude. He speaks it, he tweets it, he lies about it.
In the opening salvo, he started by trying to assert that many of our neighbors who came from other countries were the enemy. Of Mexico he stated: “They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically. The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.” You likely know the most egregious things he said about Mexico. Let’s consider another statement.
Dividing us from other friends, 45 went on to say: “It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably— probably— from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening.” This was stated despite a strict immigration policy under President Obama. Ask anyone who entered (or was deported) at that time.
Also at the time of his announcement, China and Japan were particularly criticised, along with the leaders of our own country. It is not unusual to criticize the other party during a campaign, but consider carefully the deals the country made during the Obama presidency and the comments made by Trump, the candidate. There is campaign rhetoric, and then there are falsehoods and divisions. The announcement of candidacy is filled with quotes that are not attributed to specific people and many statistics that raise questions of accuracy. Did he portray us correctly?
After a campaign of insults and hateful comments, 45 has spent a great deal of time on his twitter account blasting out hateful and divisive comments among people here and abroad. How do we feel about this? Early in the year the Quinnipiac University National Poll found that the Tweeter in Chief is dividing the nation. While polls results show that the majority of Republicans do not feel this way, Americans by 64 to 31 per cent feel that 45 is actually doing more to divide the country.
Worse yet, many are unsure if the man is actually stable. “President Donald Trump can’t seem to improve his approval rating, perhaps because of the troubling fact that half of the voters we spoke to think he is mentally unstable,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. But apparently, some of those voters are willing to stand by him anyway.
He tried to change the narrative on the NFL anthem controversy, perhaps because he could not get an NFL franchise years ago. The NFL commissioner and the NFL Players Association fired back. “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players,” commissioner, Roger Goodell, said. NFLPA executive director, DeMaurice Smith, indicated that they would not back down.
NFL QB Tom Brady, believed to be a Republican, responded “I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. I just want to support my teammates.”
Last year in September, the New York Times’ Peter Baker provided this news analysis, “Never in modern times has an occupant of the Oval Office seemed to reject so thoroughly the nostrum that a president’s duty is to bring the country together.” Isn’t it troubling that our leader has so many negative things to say?
Baker also noted, “In his brief career as president and a candidate for president, Mr. Trump has attacked virtually every major institution in American life: Congress, the courts, Democrats, Republicans, the news media, the Justice Department, Hollywood, the military, NATO, the intelligence agencies, the cast of “Hamilton,” the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” the pope and now professional sports. ” Is this presidential?
While the tweeter is in a rage, outside forces are also trying to undermine American life. Fake social media accounts have reportedly planted fake stories and memes meant to drive a wedge between parts of our society. Apparently it has been working. If you have been a regular user of facebook or twitter you know exactly what the problem is. As these fake stories pop up, unwitting supporters retweet, reblog and share these items on their news feed. Do you think foreign influences are behind this?
Social media believes we are under cyber attack. Google, the parent of YouTube and other media platforms, deleted Iranian accounts. Facebook and others have removed Russian accounts. These accounts were there to influence opinion and perhaps even divide Americans through fake stories. Was there collusion by 45 and/or his minions to help spread lies posted by Russians? Time will reveal the answer.
With full-blown propaganda wars in play, some started by and perpetuated by our leader, our enemies must be rejoicing. They see the unraveling of the American fabric, aided by our own leader, allowing them to advance to a stronger position in the world. If they can divide us and turn American against American, with Trump’s help, then our foes will watch as we stumble and fall in the eyes of the world.
Sources: “The Liberty Song,” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Liberty_Song
“History of the Motto,” Smithsonian Museum of American History
“Here’s Donald Trump’s Presidential Announcement Speech,” Time, June 16, 2015
Quinnipiac University National Poll, January 17, 2018
“Roger Goodell, NFLPA angrily denounce Trump’s ‘divisive comments’,” NBCSPORTS.COM, September, 23, 2017
“Tom Brady: I Disagree With Trump’s ‘Divisive’ Comments,” thedailybeast.com
“A Divider, Not a Uniter, Trump Widens the Breach,” The New York Times, September 24, 2017
“Not just Russians: Google follows Facebook to remove
Iranian accounts,” Financial Times, http://www.ft.com
“President Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading claims in 558 days,” The Washington Post, August 1, 2018
Click on the source links above for further information on the above statements.