They lined up on opposite sides and the division was a pretty clean one—Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other. After the President’s speech in which he insisted that ISIS is not an “Islamic” terrorist group, but just a group of terrorists—an intense debate was ignited in which one side has been insisting that ISIS is indeed made up of Islamic terrorists because they profess to be Muslims, and the other side emphasizing that no religion teaches or supports this kind of behavior, as is evidenced by all the good Muslims in the world.
On the face of it, this really does come across as a no-brainer, which leaves us to wonder what is really going on here. Why this heavily semantic debate that led to a deeply personal attack against Obama by Rudy Giuliani who proclaimed that the President “doesn’t love America.” Since his initial statement, he has adamantly defended his belief about Obama and many others have joined him in this. The message very clearly being that if you don’t agree with the use of the term Islamic terrorists you don’t love your country—wow.
If we examine the message behind the rhetoric, it speaks to what is going on in America right now, which is that we are a nation that is divided against itself. Throughout our history we have had many disagreements about the role and function of government in the lives of its citizens. Debates have raged, name calling has ensued, and unstatesmanlike behavior has occurred. But at the end of the day, we have always remained “we the people,” united in a common purpose for the good of the many. But what about now?
Theoretically, when this kind of division occurs, it can be healed by introducing a common enemy that both sides can join together against. Indeed this has happened throughout history. ISIS seems like a perfect candidate for this, but so far, it isn’t working. So what will it take, another attack here in the United States? Remember the resurgence of pride and unity that occurred after the 911 attacks? It’s frightening to think that it may have to come to that for us to realize that we are all on the same side.
To all those who are proclaiming that our president doesn’t love his own country and/or are pointing fingers and referring to everyone who dares to voice a disagreement as “them”–I recommend you spend a moment recalling the words used by Abraham Lincoln in a June 1858 speech given to his republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives; “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”