America Divided Against Itself, Again

On May 22, 1856, Representative Preston Brooks entered the floor of the United States Senate, approached abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner, and beat the senator with a cane, almost taking his life.

Brooks was provoked by a passionate anti-slavery speech that Sumner had delivered in the Senate three days earlier, in which he assailed Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina, a relative of Brooks, for his pro-slavery stance.

This sad and gruesome history is related on the website of the U.S. Senate, which concludes saying, “The nation, suffering from the breakdown of reasoned discourse that this event symbolized, tumbled onward toward the catastrophe of the civil war.”

We ought to be concerned that again, today, the nation appears to be flirting with this uneasy territory where “reasoned discourse” is breaking down.

The president’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, where she was having dinner because, well, she works for Donald Trump.

Stephanie Wilkerson, owner of the Red Hen restaurant, said she asked Sanders to depart because “there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one.”

But what exactly are the “convictions” that Wilkerson was living in this incident? That you refuse to talk, associate, do business with anyone you disagree with? This is America?

A few days before, Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was harassed in a D.C. restaurant and then at her Northern Virginia home.

Longtime Congressional Black Caucus member Maxine Waters followed, calling for all out warfare on the Trump administration.

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant , in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” Waters told a crowd in Los Angeles.

According to the vision statement of Waters’ Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: “We envision a world in which all communities have an equal voice in public policy through leadership cultivation, economic empowerment, and civic engagement.”

Another dose of liberal hypocrisy.

“Reasoned discourse” can take place only between parties who share the same values and a similar worldview.

This is what broke down in America in the 1850s and brought the nation to a horrible civil war. Reasoned discourse is not possible between someone who thinks it is acceptable for one race to be enslaved to another and someone who finds this abhorrent.

President Lincoln reached into the Gospel of Matthew and prophetically observed, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

America in 2018 is becoming again a house divided.

The world views of liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, secular humanists and Christians, regarding what America is about, regarding what life is about, are so entirely different that all common ground seems lost and we appear to have arrived again to the “breakdown of reasoned discourse.”

Half the country is on one page and half on another. We can’t seem to talk to each other, let alone respect each other anymore.

Certainly, I am not predicting another civil war. But I am predicting that the kind of civil discourse that is essential for a country like ours to function as intended is becoming increasingly impossible and something will have to give.

Florida’s Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi required a police escort to protect her from screaming thugs while exiting a movie theater in Tampa, Florida.

White House adviser Stephen Miller was called a “fascist” while eating in a Mexican restaurant in Washington.

We may not be in a hot war. But we are in a cold war.

The election of Donald Trump was about pushback.

He himself is regularly criticized for lack of civility. But maybe this is why he won. He understands that today, this is the game.



Photo credit: By Jeff KubinaLincoln Memorial, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

StarParkerBCNStar Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at

Check Also

Star Parker: An Excellent Supreme Court Decision on Homelessness

Homelessness, unfortunately, has become a persistent and growing problem in the United States. The Supreme …


  1. Star, unfortunately you’re right. Our country is as divided today as it was in antebellum days. But we’ll probably not see another civil war? I might want to ask Steve Scalise about that! At any rate, I think the damage to our country is potentially every bit as great as it was in the 1800s. Adding fuel to the fire is Justice Kennedy’s resignation and Trump’s choice of a replacement. It almost matters not who Trump nominates, the problem will be that it will be Trump who does the nominating. As I have said before, the only hope we have for survival as a country is a Holy Intervention; “revival” is too mild a word. We really need to ‘fight back’ by maintaining our respectfulness and civility, and doubling down on prayer!

    • Prayer is always excellent! Following up prayer with “righteous force,” as needed, is often “mandated” by God Himself: 1 Samuel 15:3 “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

      I believe that a large part of America’s problems, today, is that David failed to “utterly destroy all,” as God commanded. Evil will not be removed, in this world, by prayer or by arms; however, 1 Peter 5:8 cautions: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”

  2. Some might suggest that America’s sharp decline in civility stems from the advent of social media. For the first time people could insult one another in relative anonymity with little fear of reprisal. Politics today is much like sports where people choose sides and give little quarter to the opposition. No, we don’t require a third “Great Awakening” but, like chicken soup, prayer “couldn’t hurt.”

    • Only half facetiously, as I noted elsewhere, want civility in discourse(?) bring back the “Duel!” Those who would piously say, “violence only begets more violence,” might want to ask themselves, exactly what “violence” beget the violence at Berkley?

  3. ““reasoned discourse” is breaking down.” Most of the ‘unreasoned discourse’ happens to be on the Left. Bak-in-my-day there was a solution for those thinking it “reasonable” to disparage and/or insult another – it was called getting their lips bloused! Also, long before my day, some issues between protagonists, from the left and right, were resolved by way of the “Duel.” Returning to those days of yore, may be the only way to return to a more “civil” discourse? As someone much smarter than me once wrote, “The Tree of Liberty Must Be Refreshed, from Time to Time, With The Blood of Tyrants and Patriots, It Is It’s Natural Manure!”


    Are you referring to thug Mario Savio’s goons in 1964 FUCK

    r the ‘156. + ’17 anti Don goon?