A House Divided Cannot Stand
Many years ago I was part of a group from Louisville that made a mission trip to Vermont. There, we started reconstruction work on an old building that later became a retreat center and housing for visiting missionaries.
One afternoon during a work break, the host pastor explained why he had become a confirmed New Englander after growing up in South Carolina.
“Here everyone wants a say in a decision,” he said of various issues in the democratic-style polity the church followed. “But once the vote is cast, they accept it. It’s not like back home, where people vote unanimously for something, and then stand out in the parking lot to grumble about the vote.”
Refusal to Accept
That pastor’s observation could be applied to the United States as a whole. I’m referring to our national habit of refusing to accept a decision once it’s been made.
The latest case in point is the eternal arguing about presidential politics that appears poised to continue to November of 2020 and beyond.
Anyone who thought the issuance of Robert Mueller’s report would settle the issue of whether President Donald Trump colluded with Russia quickly had their hopes dashed.
The more daring souls in the Democratic Party are uttering the “I” word, while pragmatic souls like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are giving the idea a cold shoulder.
The truth is it doesn’t matter who prevails. The arguing won’t end for 18 months, and whoever wins the next presidential vote, the losing side will continue their verbal sniping about the results.
Seeds of Division
Perhaps we can point to the seeds of division as sprouting in 1998. That’s when Republicans saw their chance to bring down President Bill Clinton and impeached him despite the handwriting on the wall: they weren’t going to succeed.
But then, the move reflected the attitude inherent within the GOP. They were mad that Clinton won, not once but twice, and refused to accept the legitimacy of both elections.
More than a year later, with Y2K hysteria reaching a fever pitch, I heard a conspiracy theorist raise the specter of the collapse of democracy.
Supposedly, Clinton would use the chaos fostered by a Y2K meltdown to declare martial law and prevent the 2000 election from proceeding.
I shook my head over the preposterous nature of that claim.
However, I then watched a similar refusal to accept George W. Bush as president after the controversial “hanging chads” election in November of 2000.
The same opposition continued for eight years. It came to fruition with the hysterical online speculation in late 2008 that Bush wouldn’t allow Barack Obama to assume the duties of the presidency.
A similar distrust and griping about Obama continued throughout his presidency.
When supporters who thought Hilary Clinton was a shoo-in to succeed Obama woke up to the news that Donald Trump would be our next president, they immediately gathered an army to oppose him.
Before he had a chance to make a decision as president, thousands were marching in the streets. Since then, a chorus of “he’s not my president” calls have echoed across the land.
Except he is, and the naysayers need to accept it.
During a recent Bible study, my wife and I were looking at Mark 3:24-25, where Jesus refuted His critics’ claim that He operated under demonic power.
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand,” Jesus said. “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
We ignore Christ’s wisdom at our own peril. Unless the Divided States of America become the United States once again, we will fall.