Bridging the Great Divide

“We should not yield to foreign countries who are determined to defeat us and destroy our allies.”

It would appear by current events that our country and the world are facing divides reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. Is the divide already too great? History dictates that there are solutions. Hope lies in the attitudinal perspective of the people involved in the conflict.

The way to bridge the gap of our conflicts tests our imagination. However, building bridges between elements of society, whether based upon political, ideological, religious, economic, ethnic, gender, regional, or historical differences, depends on a definition of principles that bind us as a culture.

This definition of who we are as a people has been the crux of the debate for the past several years. As recent as July of this year, the Nuttle Reportaddressed the concept of culture in the following excerpt:

“The most important thing that a society can do for its own opportunity and the opportunity for the next generation is to protect and care for its cultural identity. To do this, a people must first determine what defines them as a culture. The discussion must be reflective and considerate of all members of society. In defining the merits of culture, concentration of debate should not be on the elements that divide. Dialog should be conducted along the lines of what benefits all.

No society in the history of the world was ever united in all circumstances, opinions, ideologies, and philosophies. In all successful cultures, there was one central thread that united all members of that society in purpose. In the writings and literature of sustainable cultures, there was a specific determination that could be derived from their intellect and intent. A commitment that defined them as a people pursuant to their culture in that place in time and history.” 

Before you can build a bridge, you must understand what secures it on both sides of the ravine. There is stability in what divides us if the segments of the divide are connected through overriding principles that unite us. First you have to determine, what are the principles that define us as a culture? Do we truly believe in freedom? Or do we only believe in freedom to the extent that government allows it? If it is the latter, then what we really believe is that government control is essential. Freedom then becomes a by-product. If freedom is paramount in our belief system, then government is the facilitator of the principle and subservient to its premise. Today in the national debate, our leaders define America based on policy, not principles. The national debate centers on policy first without respect for priorities and no recognition of principles. The debate should stand on principles first, then determine priorities based on those principles and policy to implement the priorities. We now execute the debate in reverse.

The press is not helpful.

This past weekend on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Martha Radditz was the guest host. In her interview with Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, the first question she asked was in reference to Donald Trump’s statement about Hillary Clinton’s handling of personal emails, distributing them through her personal aide, Huma Abedin. Did he think Mr. Trump’s statement that it was a criminal act over the top?

Now let’s think about this question for a minute. The assumptions in the question are almost too numerous to mention. You have to assume that what Hillary Clinton did was not a criminal act. You have to know what law was not broken and why. And you have to imagine upon what principle that law was based. Governor Jindal was on the show for two reasons. One, he is a presidential candidate in 2016. Two, it was the 10 year anniversary of Katrina. By asking an innocuous question in the opening salvo about Don Trump, Miss Raddizt exposes her prejudice toward Hillary Clinton and her frustration with Don Trump. Donald Trump refuses to accept the press’s rules for debate and discussion. The press is actually becoming angry that he won’t play pursuant to their protocol. The question presents the bias that Don Trump is not credible in his statements and Hillary Clinton is not to be attacked.

A proper way to ask the question would have been to at least set the facts in perspective. Here is how she might have approached it more fairly:

“The determinative principles are ethics in government and the rule of law. Public officials should be held to the highest standard and accountable to the people. Do you believe by sharing State Department emails with an aide who had no security clearance, was in violation of this principle? And if so would you go so far today to say that it was, in your opinion, a criminal act?” 

Governor Jindal answered the question with composure. He basically said that if a General in the military had done the same thing with a Private, they both would be subject to indictment. Radditz quickly moved on, but the principle underlying the foundation of the debate was never discussed. She diluted the process of a serious discussion with the governor and set a negative tone for further remarks about the success of the New Orleans recovery.

The American people deserve to be respected in their intellect for their beliefs of principles that define us as a culture. This divisive debate on policy and personalities must cease and desist. Newscasters must make some effort to engage candidates and the public in discussion on what is good about our culture. What is the rock formation of the divide upon which a bridge can be built? What is the bridge of principles – principles that define who we are as a people and sets in stone what we expect for the continuity of the generations? The bridge must be engineered to support the exchange of ideas based upon cultural axioms.

The Dow Jones Industrial average is gyrating due to negative economic indicators from China. Defending against the Chinese management of their economy requires the United States government to respect the principle of economic sensibility in our own country. To promote stability in the Middle East requires the President and the State Department to respect the principle of foreign policy that advocates rule of law and due process. We should not yield to foreign countries who are determined to defeat us and destroy our allies.  Instead, we address each situation, whether domestic or foreign, as if it is a situation that stands on its own, rather than an incident that needs to be analyzed through the lens of foundational principles.

It is in unity that our strength is magnified. It is in respect for each other that we build bridges for the pursuit of happiness. We have had great divides before. At the foundation of our country, John Dickinson and Patrick Henry advocated unity in the rallying cry, “United we stand, divided we fall.” The quote actually appears in the Bible in Mark 3:25. But it is just as clearly stated in Mark 3:24 “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

Principles binding a people are eternal, “endowed by their Creator.” What is required is a recognition that principles exist. Otherwise, no bridge can be built regardless of the size of the gap.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?