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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Is there a leader who can unite us?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If somehow magically we could ignore the political jabber that dominates the news, I think we might find a more troubling trend just below the surface.

If you don't pay close attention and connect all of the dots, you'll miss the single greatest challenge facing this nation.

Here's a clue - it's not healthcare or military involvement or the economy or gas prices.

The undercurrent in all of the national dialogue revolves around issues that divide us. There is no national discourse on those issues that unite us. And there may be a reason for this national theme of division.

We are clearly divided along income lines. Occupy Whatever and Whenever is a movement founded on the divisive notion of haves and have nots. The income divisions are clearly promoted by some for pure political gain.

We are divided along racial lines. Some can argue that this division is nothing new. You can page through history and find vivid examples of racial division and those same dividing points remain today.

But far too many instances are now falsely drawn down along racial lines. Some of those divisions are rooted in reality. Others are less clear. But the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world help to assure that racial division remains in the forefront of some minds.

We are divided along cultural lines. Those divisions too are not necessarily a new phenomenon. Yet culture remains a stark division and a growing part of the national dialogue.

We are divided along religious lines. When the President made his famous campaign comment about those who cling to their Bibles, he defamed a huge segment of the population who indeed do proudly cling to their religious belief. But the utter contempt shown to those of sincere faith is a newfound division.

And we remain divided along geographic lines. North and South, urban and rural - these dividing points surface in the national discussion especially during this election year. In many quarters, there is suspicion and disdain for those from other sections of the country where the value systems are different. Not better. Not worse. Just different.

So with all of these divisions boiling right below the surface, what is it that unites us? What common national goal or interest can you identify that would unite this country as we've been united in the past?

Oh sure, we've always been a nation divided. That's why certain powers and policies are left to the individual states.

But the dividing lines are currently much deeper with much greater passion and emotion than in the past.

To overcome divisions requires leadership. It takes a strong and respected leader to highlight those issues that unite us. That same strong leadership is required to work through those areas of division.

But leadership that exploits those divisions - income, racial, religion and geography - is not leadership at all. That is no more than political expediency.

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen