for a nation divided
June 10, 1782 members of the Continental Congress
adopted the Great Seal of the United States.
The development of the Seal was a collaborative
effort of a committee of America's most respected
founders that took six years to complete because
those creating this new nation were concerned
that they leave a legacy that would endure.
Seal includes the motto "E Pluribus Unum"
(Out of the many, One) and an eagle with an
olive branch clasped in one talon and thirteen
arrows clutched in the other. These three things
together denote the power of unity in both peace
Franklin on that day in a letter to his friend
Jonathan Shipley wrote, "After much occasion
to consider the folly and mischiefs of a state
of warfare, and the little or no advantage obtained
even by those nations who have conducted it
with the most success, I have been apt to think
that there has never been, or ever will be,
any such thing as a good war, or a bad peace."
this careful crafting of a democratic republic
where unity, respect for individual liberty,
and justice reigned supreme, and the admonitions
of its elders, Americans soon found themselves
engaged in a disastrous Civil War.
Once again we live in a nation divided. Polls
show that voters across the country are almost
evenly divided on a wide range of issues and
that positions seem to be hardening, according
to the latest information from the Pew Research
Center. The Center soberly declares:
unity was the initial response to the calamitous
events of Sept. 11, 2001, but that spirit
has dissolved amid rising political polarization
and anger. In fact, a year before the presidential
election, American voters are once again seeing
things largely through a partisan prism. The
GOP has made significant gains in party affiliation
over the past four years, but this remains
a country that is almost evenly divided politically
yet further apart than ever in its political
research shows a nation clearly divided on significant
issues ranging from the handling of the war
in Iraq and the economy to social concerns like
homosexuality and affirmative action. The report
also tracks a trend towards closer alignment
between religious faith and political ideology.
this news, there is reason to be optimist about
areas where Americans find common ground.
cities around the county people of all political
stripes - both citizen and visitor - come together
each week to build homes for families who would
otherwise have none, contribute to the hungry,
care for the old and young. Schools continue
to be filled with mentors, and parents are adopting
more children without regard to ethnicity.
and liberals gather together in on street corners,
electronic forums, and small groups to discuss
Iraq, the economy, and latest social concerns.
all of this civil discourse takes place without
we enter a new political season, each of us
should pledge to listen to the "other side"
just a little bit better, resist the urge to
demonize candidate and parties, and work to
overcome the disagreements that hinder us. Our
founding fathers and mothers were well aware
of the costs of division and gave us a motto
not only for this nation but also for the entire
world in which we live:From the many, One.
like the elders of America before him, Martin
Luther King, Jr. gave guidance when he spoke
to a nation divided over race, injustice, and
war in recent decades. "We still have a
choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent
co-annihilation," he said. "If we
make the right choice, we will be able to speed
up the day, all over America and all over the
world, when justice will roll down like waters,
and righteousness like a mighty stream."
we strive to live our highest ideals, we must
work towards common ground.
Jackson, is a sixth-generation Texas bid'nessman
and founder of Texans for Peace www.texansforpeace.org