The reaction emotionally by political special interests has been as varied and intense as the divisions of society. What is driving such diverse opinions isnot generated as much by political ideology as the fact that, as a people, we are lost in our national identity.
Those who despise President Trump will claim that his demeanor alone is enough to warrant impeachment. As thorough and non-partisan as the Mueller investigation appears to be, Trump detractors will never give him “his day in court” with a result of not guilty.
Those who support President Trump will argue that the result of his presidency, especially economic development, is achievement enough to tolerate his personality if, in fact, the evidence concludes that there was no collusion with the Russians. This base of support believes that the existing power structure is corrupt and self-serving in its own right. The Establishment sets a standard of protocol which only benefits and serves their own interest.
There are those legal experts who honestly debate the definitions and nuances of the criminal code and statutes. They are narrow in their league and do not fundamentally change the opinions or attitudes of the partisan activists.
There is another segment of society, possibly larger than all of those listed above, that simply says, “I don’t know what it all means.” This group comprises decent, law-abiding Americans who just want their leaders to do the right thing. They are citizens who unselfishly desire that each of their brothers and sisters has equal access to the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness.
What has caused Americans to dissolve into such a negative, acrimonious divide in identity? It is because, in our pursuit of happiness, we have lost our pursuit of common ideas. The United States as a culture is insufficient in defining what it means to be an American. There is not now a standard from which to debate one’s point of view. We are adrift in our identity of purpose. We have been abandoned by our leaders who have taken identity politics to a critical state only for their pursuit of power.
What are the circumstances that have allowed this crisis to occur?
The Republican Party and the Democratic Party today do not exist at the grassroots. They may still in some areas of the country have precinct and county organizational meetings. But as national parties, they are little more than a collection system for delegates to a national convention. The Party Platforms are not respected. Their national message is incoherent. Voters are left to the individual rhetoric of candidates, and therefore, personality politics.
Both the Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention, the two largest denominations of Christians in America, are under attack. They are accused, on the basis of certain facts, of not policing and holding leaders accountable for sexual improprieties and abuse of those under their authority. This, along with the collapse of the political parties’ consistent messaging on philosophical issues, has left the public to their own means to find a national theme on basic principles.
Human beings are naturally attracted to like-minded groups. We are tribal by nature. This tendency leads to a need to dominate society by group identity when universal care for others and their opinions are disregarded.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and she will always fill it. Personal blogs have proliferated without any allegiance to national themes. Many sources of information today are beyond blind partisanship. They are non-factual and, at times, present unfounded conclusions. Citizens are so busy today living their lives, they have little time to discern fact from fiction to form their own opinions. In the past, the parties provided direction on government policy, and the church provided a foundation on morality.
In China today, the government dictates civic activity. There is little freedom of speech or freedom of choice. The State tells the citizens what the goals and objectives are. There is no confusion to a Chinese citizen on what is expected in his or her relationship with the government. The government now assigns a social index to each citizen. This is a rating on their social obedience to government dictates. This is not what we want for America. We as Americans are destined to be free in our thought, yet we must be committed in our common purpose.
As America awaits the findings of the Mueller report and the substance of the upcoming testimony of Michael Cohen before Congress, the process of determining acceptance and meaning of facts depends upon the basis of determining one’s identity. An identityis based upon transcendent principles, rules of conduct, elements of character, and commitment to fairness that are timeless.
The Christian faith directs that all people are equal in God’s eyes. We are all relatives in the sense that we come from one ancestor. The identity of a Christian is not based on this earthly system of things. It is based on the hope of an eternal heavenly Kingdom wherein all injustice is eliminated and righteousness is the ruling principle. Therefore, by faith, a Christian is at peace regardless of the current chaos.
Absent faith, a person’s only recourse is to believe that, in this system of things, somehow common opportunity can be realized. Without the definition of a given written word, this quest for equality is based upon the false premise that a person’s background, culture, gender, or station in life, is the ruling axiom. Therefore, lacking consensus on the definition of a common national identity, society is relegated to either relying upon faith or on this system of things which is an undependable work in progress.
It is not so much that the United States finds itself in crisis, but that its citizens have been abandoned to find for themselves their default identity. This is the identity upon which a person falls back on as a last resort. In making this choice, one stakes his or her life and their children’s future on a vision for their existence.
No argument can be found for solving the disputes of citizenconflict through trust in this system of things. For the current world is fueled by survival of the fittest or the dominance of group identity.
Only in the faith of a greater calling may one find peace in the struggles of this system of things.
A person’s default identity defines not only the peace of their coexistence but any hope of peace for our children.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?