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Many have claimed that the citizens of America have never been this divided, experienced this much partisan rhetoric or opposed to anyone’s views other than their own.

But I want to talk about where we have been in the past rather than where we are going in the future.

In the last 10 elections cycles since 1980, eight out of 10, or 80%, of the presidential elections had either a Bush or a Clinton on the ballot.

Eight out of 10, that has probably never happened before in history, but all in all, Americans have accomplished in the last 240-plus years what no other country has ever been able to do.

So, where have we been?

If we would have been here about 100 years ago, women would still not be able to legally vote, the Klu Klux Klan would have just been reformed with 75 members of Congress boasting that they were card-carrying members, along with governors of Georgia, Indiana, Colorado, Texas and Oregon. As a matter of fact, in 1925, 50,000 members of the KKK would march down Pennsylvania Avenue without wearing their hoods.

We would have just come out of what was called the Great World War, and President Woodrow Wilson would shut down 400 newspapers and magazines because they printed statements and articles that he did not agree with or went against his policies. Imagine what would happen if today’s president did that.

President Wilson’s attorney general would issue warrantless raids against any dissidents that opposed Wilson’s policies.

Congress was embattled over immigration with one member of the Senate standing up and declaring the West Coast would soon turn yellow because of all the Asians coming in, and we are told we have never been this divided before.

Now, you may wonder how all this display of power and control could take place in the United States of America.

Much of that news was never heard because in 1919 we were 80% rural and 20% urban, there was no TV or social media, and newspapers were slow, probably spending most of their news interest on local events; however, in 1921 with the advent of the radio, the world became smaller and news spread faster.

Now, fast forward another 50 years, Vietnam — 1968.

The Tet offensive broke out Jan. 31, 1968, and continued on into the first week of March. Forty-seven American soldiers would die every day, not wounded, not captured, they would be killed in action.

On the evening of March 31, actually it was Palm Sunday, President Lyndon Johnson would appear on television announcing that he would not accept the nomination from his party for president of the United States.

On the same day, Martin Luther King was preaching to a crowd in the Washington National Cathedral asking for peace and tranquility among all of America’s citizens. Four days later, on Maundy Thursday, he would be dead in Memphis, Tennessee, shot by an assassin.

Bobby Kennedy addressed a crowd after Martin Luther King’s death asking them not to riot and declaring, (we’ve got to learn to live together). Seven weeks, later he would be shot dead by another assassin. Six weeks later, Chicago would burn from rioting during the Democratic National convention.

President Richard Nixon would go on to win that upcoming election over Hubert Humphrey by a razor-thin margin; however, in that same election, a third candidate by the name of George Wallace would carry five states, taking with him 13.5% of the popular vote on a totally segregated platform, and we are told, violence has never been as bad as it is today.

And finally, another tense and trying time in the same era, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

President Kennedy reached out to Dwight Eisenhower, who told Kennedy he needed to include his entire staff so they could weigh out all the possibilities. Probably the most important meeting ever held, those 13 tense and possibly life-changing days in October in 1962. Those missiles, based in Cuba, were 15 minutes from Washington D.C. and 20 minutes from New York City. Had someone started pushing buttons, the estimates range from 75 to 100 million Americans killed. Every one of us would have been directly or indirectly affected.

And we are told that Twitter is ruining this country.

Everyone has a right to voice an opinion, according to the Constitution, as long as it is presented in a civil manner.

We need to show and practice empathy to prove genuine care and love toward one another, not only because it is the right thing to do, but we need to practice respect and care for one another, in order to survive.

We need to be civil and listen to one another, with due respect.

May God grant us this wish and desire and may God always bless this country and its citizens.

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