Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
One of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speeches before the Civil War concluded: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Sage words then and now. For much of our history, differences of opinion made us stronger and the American character matured. The founding fathers gave us the gift of their wisdom and foresight. I think they would be displeased with our current president who seems more comfortable playing up our differences rather than trying to bind us together.
Historians are already writing about Mr. Obama’s background and influences, but this much I already know: he is the most divisive president since Lyndon Johnson and the Viet Nam War. Obama promised to be a uniter and transparent. He has been neither. As we head into the most expensive campaign season in American history, the holes in our national fabric are growing. You see it between blacks and whites, between whites and Latinos, gays and straights, rich and poor, unions and management, urban and rural communities, between powerful elites and average citizens, liberals and conservatives, between the people and their government. There are even problems in the military with troops being drummed out because they are openly challenging the politics of the commander in chief. It didn’t have to be this way.
I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe we are the world’s last best hope. Recent elections in Europe indicate a dangerous slide toward further financial chaos and social unrest and possibly the collapse of the EU itself. The Middle East remains a tinderbox and China is on the rise. Terrorism is a real threat. This is no time to falter. This is not a time to sow discord here at home, but that’s what I see coming from the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. Divide and conquer seems to be his strategy. The Wall Street Journal has just exposed the existence of the president’s enemies list. His staff has hired professionals to gather information on individuals who contribute to the Romney campaign and smear their reputation. Frank VanderSloot, 63, of Idaho Falls, Idaho is just one of many to endure the pressure brought by the Obama campaign. Is this what hope and change looks like?
Recently, 150 celebrities honored Mr. Obama at actor George Clooney’s house in Hollywood, raising nearly $15 million. A seat at the table that night was $40,000. That’s nearly what I earn in an entire year. So I did something that I have never done. I sent the Republican party a small check. Maybe it will help level the playing field. Then again, maybe not.
Please, Mr. President, stop tearing us down. Stop tearing us apart. This Memorial Day, can you switch out of campaign mode and give the country a speech on all that is good about America? We could use it this weekend.
Peter Bell Robb
Holliston and Oak Bluffs