COMMUNITY OPINION: Happy Birthday To My Perpetually Divided Nation

As my beloved U.S.A. celebrates another Independence Day it remains as it has always been, a deeply divided nation, but now without a vision.

This opinion was contributed by community member Marty Richman. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

The U.S. has been a deeply divided nation throughout its history; even its birthing was anything but unanimously welcomed. It’s been estimated that between 15 percent and 20 percent of the white settlers in the colonies were British loyalists during the Revolutionary War.

Today we see dueling posts and comments appear instantly from all points on the map and we tend to believe that the nation is divided as never before, but the truth is that division has been our usual condition. The only real differences are that many previous divisions were far less public and often much deeper.

America’s Civil War (1861-1865) was, like all civil wars, the ultimate expression of national division, extraordinarily bloody and cruel.  In theory the nation all pulled together to win World War II (1941-1945), but that version is just a pipe-dream, many Americans of Japanese ancestry were in internment camps and African-Americans were restricted to segregated units. Segregation generated an enforced national division, but the majority of Americans did not “hear” the complaints of the minorities even though they were there – no Internet.

If you give people the freedom to think and to express their ideas you’re not going to get the 99 percent agreement votes that are the hallmark of totalitarian regimes. Liberty of thought and expression is bound to be a messy thing.

It’s my belief that humans show their best stuff, individually and collectively, when they are challenged, but today’s leadership on all sides has not been able to define or address our challenges in a way that catches the public imagination or upstages personal interests. What they offer, instead, is the false promise of easy answers and what they get is the public's disappointment when they don't deliver.

So here we are still divided, which is okay, but without the insight to recognize the causes, propose workable solutions, or demand any effort from the public, which is not okay.

In my opinion the nation has been pampered and rudderless except for political opportunism for a significant period of time and that needs to change or eventually we will come apart from within. Our future, as always, is in our own hands.



Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.