Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Senseless Drive To Break America Apart

On August 15, 1996, as with each presidential convention, the focus of Bob Dole’s acceptance speech invariably touched on an “America only the unknowing call a myth.”
The Republican Party is broad and inclusive. It represents many streams of opinion and many points of view.
But if there's anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we are not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you, tonight this hall belongs to the Party of Lincoln. And the exits which are clearly marked are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.
And though, I can only look up at a very steep angle, to Washington and Lincoln, let me remind you of their concern for the sometimes-delicate unity of the people.
The notion that we are and should be one people rather than "peoples" of the United States seems so self-evident and obvious that it's hard for me to imagine that I must defend it. When I was growing up in Russell, Kansas, it was clear to me that my pride and my home were in America, not in any faction, and not in any division.
In this I was heeding, even as I do unto this day, Washington's eloquent rejection of factionalism. I was honoring, even as I do unto this day, Lincoln's word, his life and his sacrifice. The principle of unity has been with us in all our successes.
The 10th Mountain Division, in which I served in Italy, and the Black troops of the 92ndm Division who fought nearby were the proof for me once again of the truth I'm here trying to convey.
The war was fought just a generation after America's greatest and most intense period of immigration. And yet when the blood of the sons of immigrants and the grandsons of slaves fell on foreign fields, it was American blood. In it you could not read the ethnic particulars of the soldier who died next to you. He was an American.
And when I think how we learned this lesson I wonder how we could have unlearned it. Is the principle of unity, so hard-fought and at the cost of so many lives, having been contested again and again in our history, and at such a terrible price, to be casually abandoned to the urge to divide?
The answer is no.
Must we give in to the senseless drive to break apart that which is beautiful and whole and good?
And so tonight I call on every American to rise above all that may divide us, and to defend the unity of the nation for the honor of generations past, and the sake of those to come.

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