“Join hand in hand, brave Americans all. By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.”
That is a quote from “The Liberty Song” from the pre-revolutionary war era, written by John Dickinson in 1768.
Now 255 years later with the upcoming 2024 election, that idea may become more important than ever. As a registered independent voter, I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat for the record, and over the past three years there has been a single phrase I have heard repeatedly dominating conversations regarding politics — “The election was stolen.”
Former Republican President Donald Trump made the claims again at his rally in Waco, Texas recently. In Arizona, Republican Kari Lake continues to make the same claims after losing the race for governor last November.
Recounts have been done, independent third parties were brought in, protests were staged, years of claims were made, and the outcomes have all stayed the same. All of the evidence points to the fact that the election was not stolen.
Yet the claims are persisting. Now with the 2024 presidential election fast approaching, this issue is not going away any time soon, and more issues are on the rise. At CPAC last month, Trump made a statement and said, “I am your warrior, I am your justice and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”
Retribution, the punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act. Many of Trump’s statements, along with statements made by other Republicans show this increasing focus on a hazardous “us versus them” mentality. Some Republicans are not so subtle though in their suggestions. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a representative from Georgia, went so far as to even call for a “national divorce” between red and blue states on President’s Day.
In order to get better insight into this, I sat down with Alison Dagnes, a professor with the political science department at Shippensburg University, who teaches a class on campaigns and political parties. “Politics has shifted from something transactional to something that is personal,” Dagnes said in the interview.
“Politics is supposed to help people. Policymaking is dependent on compromise and sharing resources so that people can get what they want. When it stops being transactional like that, and becomes ‘us-versusthem,’ politics becomes someone’s entire identity. And that’s bad.”
And when it becomes their identity, the purpose of policies begin to change. No longer do politicians focus on what is best for their district, state or country. Nowadays, many politicians seem to focus on what sponsoring a bill says about themselves, their party is their identity.
With all of that said, then what is at stake for the future president who gets sworn into office in January 2025? Democracy. America’s entire future of politics. If we continue down this path of hostility and division, things are going to become worse in America. You cannot vote simply based on the color of the party in this upcoming election. Red or blue, voters will need to consider who is truly best for the country, despite their party affiliation. Rather than voting for the loudest voice in the room, voting for the one who is willing to compromise for the good of the country as a whole.
However, unfortunately, that is not the case with much of the Republican Party these days. In 2020, the Republican Party did not adopt any new platform changes from their 2016 variation, instead pushing that back until 2024.
Instead they said that the Party “enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today.”
Rather than advocating for compromise, the Republican Party is pushing for division. It is pushing for that “Republicans versus Democrats” and “us-versus-them” mentality. It is not saying there is a compromise to Democratic policies, it is saying they are to be fully rejected.
Democracy is based on compromise. The entire Constitution, the document the country was founded on, was based on compromise. If we lose that, then what are elections truly accomplishing? It gives us two different sets of rules depending on the party in charge, rather than one unified nation working toward a better future.
It is why Donald Trump’s candidacy, along with the Republican Party as a whole, is growing increasingly concerned about independent voters like me. The violence, the accusations, the lies, it is creating a dangerous situation for America.
Above all else though, no matter what happens and who wins during election 2024, one fact will remain the same. United we will stand, as the United States of America. No matter which side wins, we need to come together as one nation and accept our win or our loss. Because without that there is one thing for certain.
Divided, we will fall.