The nation is divided. Many states are against any federal interference in the private lives of individuals. They consider the government an enemy of freedom. Some of their citizens openly call for direct disobedience of federal mandates.
Other states loudly call for increased federal regulation, especially of corporate activities which they claim are eroding the health and safety of the citizens.
Both sides increasingly resort to name-calling, growing ever more poisonous in tone. Large sums of money are being spent by both sides with violene on the increase. Sound familiar? It should. It was like that in 1860.
Everyone knows what happened the next year. The states that disagreed with a federal mandate on slavery decided not to obey the federal government and withdrew from the Union. The federal government refused to allow this to happen and the result was the bloodiest war America has ever fought.
I suggest it may be time to ask: Could it happen again?
Reading letters on the net leaves no doubt that civility, courtesy and comity are things of the past. Respect for the presidency has yielded to insult and vilification. The same is true for those who disagree with the President. The nation is so far from the indivisibility mentioned in the Pledge of Allegience that we have become two nations:"us"and "them."
So is there a possibilty that the Tea Party states would simply refuse to obey federal mandates on, say, heath care and dare the feds to make them? And would the Obama administration behave the same as the Lincoln administration and send troops?
Now I realize there are probably those on both sides who would say, "Bring it on." With the country in its present state, there's not much hope for the two sides to reach any agreement. Listen to Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan on one side and Barney Frank or Nancy Pelosi on the other and try to find a middle ground. Throw in the fundamentalist Christians who think Mr. Obama is the Antichrist and the Occupy bunch who believe corporations are the worst enemy of America since Stalin and the outlook becomes even bleaker.
So, if Mr. Obama wins the White House, the Democrats take over the Congress and they ram through a health care mandate, higher taxes on the wealthy and more benefits for the unions, just suppose Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama and a few other states refuse to participate? Would Mr. Obama be like Mr. Lincoln? If the dissenting states decided to form a Union of their own, would the federal government let them do it, or would they send troops?
If those who don't learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them, what do you think the future holds?