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Back in Tennessee, we lived on top of a mountain, at the box end of a long, wide valley. Our house was at 3,300 feet, and the floor of the valley was 1,400 feet. In the summers, storms would come barreling up the valley, and we could watch all the turbulence of the clouds below them, while the top of the clouds would light up with lightning and swirl around — a great show. Our kids would run down to the corner of our deck, right on the edge of the cliff, and watch the storm together.
It would be perfectly calm at our house, until the storm hit the cliffs at the end of the valley. Then, all of a sudden, powerful cold gusts would blow up the mountain, lifting the kids from their perch on the edge of the cliff. It never lifted them off their feet, but they would hang on to each other, trying to create their own little sail, and squeal and laugh as they felt it lift them, lighter on their feet. They would laugh and yell until the rain hit them (usually raining UP at that point), and they would come sprinting into the house, looking like crazed, wet birds. Great times.
I love the picture above. I can’t get past the symbolism. The storm is coming. They’re going to get wet and get knocked around a bit. But they’ve got each other, so they don’t care. In fact, together, they look forward to it. The sisters can handle anything together. Disasters go from setbacks to hide from, to roller-coaster rides to enjoy and savor. As long as they have each other, it’ll be fun, not scary. It’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. This picture brings tears to my eyes every time I look at it.
America was once like this. We had each other. We understood one another’s faults, but we loved each other just the same. And our love for one another changed setbacks to opportunities. Because we knew that when things got bad enough, we at least had each other. And things would probably work out. And then we could run back inside, sheltered by our shared strength, and laugh at the setbacks. Together.
My kids are sisters. They grew up together. They know each others’ faults, but they love each other anyway. After all, they’re sisters.
America is different. We don’t share anything obvious in common. We don’t share a common race, or a common religion, or a common background, or a common anything else. But we’re bound together by our belief in a simple ideology. Our belief in liberty and free will.
The efforts we’re seeing right now to separate Americans into hostile tribes is poison. It’s pure evil.
It’s difficult to unite such a diverse group as Americans, and it’s easy to tear us apart. Once we no longer trust each other, our infighting will disable our previously remarkable ability to turn setbacks into opportunities.
Once we’re driven apart, then setbacks become catastrophes, and even opportunities become setbacks. At that point, we’re just looking for something to fight about. And we’ll always find something.
My kids are all in their early 20s now. They’ve reached the age that when something goes wrong, they don’t call me, they call each other. Which is perfect.
I see the efforts of the power-hungry American statists to leverage the divisions inherent in our complex society, as equivalent to efforts to tear siblings away from each other. That may help consolidate power, but it’s needlessly destructive. Which is another way to say pure evil.
That picture of my kids brings tears to my eyes. So does the picture from Iwo Jima. The picture of Biden brings tears to my eyes, as well. For different reasons.
None of this had to happen.
May God continue to bless the United States of America.Published in