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It caught me off guard, and I have no idea if anyone else even noticed. But it was an interesting omission.

I was at one of those events where they decided to start by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone dutifully put their hands over their hearts, and the leader led the way.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

I felt like I was the only one who thought, “Wait, what?” The event went on unabated, and no one remarked that the pledge leader had forgotten the word, “indivisible.” 

The more I thought about it, the more I thought how appropriate a mistake it was. 

Most people think the nation is more divisible than ever. For years the practitioners of practical politics have been working as hard as they can to drive a wedge between people, to the point where the phrase “civil war” finds itself on people’s lips and poll questions.

H.L. Mencken’s famous line is, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

The pending civil war is another one of those imaginary hobgoblins, and the politicians who play with that fire are hoping the populace clamors to be led to safety from civil war by, say, suspending the Constitution and rounding up all the people who disagree with the party in power. By playing with that particular fire, of course, they risk getting us all badly burned.

The best way to counter the foolishness that is contemporary politics is not to take the bait. When someone tries to divide us into “us and them,” talk about how much we have in common. And you know what we have MOST in common? Most of us are sick and tired of people who try to divide us. 

I think people in general are more indivisible than the politicians give us credit for.

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