COLUMN: POINT-COUNTERPOINT: We can get along, if we make effort

Robert Lee

Divorce is ugly. Relationships ostensibly based on love, affection, respect ,and tolerance sometimes, and too often, end in bitter recriminations and angry accusations.

Tolerance is out the window and appreciation for the partner, who once we promised to love and honor "'til death do us part," is a forgotten or rejected memory. Oklahoma is very familiar with the action, as we are ranked seventh in the nation in the number of divorces per year. It's a sad acknowledgement that we see divorce as a solution to a vexing problem.

So, it may be no wonder a divorced person might see that solution for the many problems that vex our country.

"We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government," U.S. Congressperson Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, said in the tweet. "Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrats' traitorous America Last policies, we are done."

That notion was roundly and rightly rejected by many from both parties. As a Democrat who tends to hang out with other Democrats, that characterization of "traitorous" and "America Last" doesn't fit with any conversation I've ever had with a Democrat. Choosing words like those to describe someone with whom you have a disagreement what led to her own personal divorce. The rhetoric of relationship is often the key to successful navigation of differences and conflict, yet we seem to have lost the ability to see the "other" as a brother or sister and how to have a civil conversation. Some find vile names to call and seem to have missed the core statement of our founding fathers - that is, "We the people." The people are a mix of ideas, thoughts, hopes, and dreams that may not mesh nicely with those of some others, but they are valid to them and worth striving for. There is no such thing as a "civil" war. The last time we approached the conflicts with an idea to separate there was, indeed, a war that was to have settled that notion. As President Lincoln said, "S house divided against itself cannot stand."

Including Lincoln's, 900,000 lives were lost/sacrificed to settle that conflict. That's a bad idea. Besides, if you've ever traveled around this great, wonderful, and beautiful country, and actually talked with locals, you know there is no such thing as a "red" or "blue" state. No, even in Georgia, there are "blue" citizens, and lots of them. As David French wrote in the New York Times on March 5, "The very idea that red states or blue states represent ideologically coherent communities is completely wrong. Every red state has bright blue counties or cities, and every blue state has red precincts as well. How do you split up a nation when red and blue are so thoroughly intertwined?"

It may sound appealing, and one might project "peace in the valley" if we just separated by ideology, but the reality would be much different and likely irreparable harm would occur. Back to the French article, "The very idea is absurd. It's incompatible with the Constitution. It's dangerous. It's unworkable. It would destroy the economy, dislocate millions of Americans and destabilize the globe… There is only one way to describe an actual American divorce: an unmitigated disaster, for America and the world."

I agree with that assessment and believe, because I've seen it, that we can get along. As my mother used to say, "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all." Let's do that.

Robert Lee is a retired social worker with interests in history and politics. He lives in Tahlequah.

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