Say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Depends who you ask, now that we're two nations?#34;or one nation with parallel realities.
Welcome to the D.S.A., Divided States of America?#34;Reds vs. Blues, Dopes vs. Mopes, sore winners vs. sore losers. E Pluribus Duo?#34;Out of Many, Two.
Separated by a great values chasm, we stand on either side of the divide, casting aspersions into an abyss of futility. The blues' values are, to the reds, immorality. The reds' values are, to the blues, intolerance. Blues think the reds are dopes. Reds think the blues are mopes.
Ever faithful, reds believe we're safer with Captain 9/11 in charge and take for granted their moral superiority because they're pro-life and anti-gay.
Ever skeptical, blues assume the blueless are clueless and wonder why the reds seem to support death everywhere but in the womb. Reds can't understand how blues can claim to be both pro-life and pro-choice. Blues can't understand how reds can claim to be pro-life when they also tend to be pro-death penalty, pro-guns, and pro-preemptive war.
Blues say the best way to defend the sanctity of marriage is eradicating domestic violence, not banning same-sex civil unions. Reds insist that if we banned abortion and same-sex hanky-panky and put prayer and the Ten Commandments in every public building, the country would return to some golden heyday of moral rectitude.
Blues say if we could make health care affordable and accessible to everyone, find a way to hold an honest election, and stop legalized bribery of our elected officials, we could at least call ourselves a developed nation, and perhaps someday even a democracy.
Blues have always been more sympathetic to oppressed minorities, and now, at last, we are one.
The culture war rages on and won't end anytime soon. It's a war that needs to be fought. We are a divided nation because we don't know where we're going. Will we destroy the Ring of Power or will we opt for The Return of the King? One side of the argument or the other will win?#34;or we'll wrestle our way to some sort of synthesis. At this point, hardly anyone is willing to give an inch and hardly anyone is willing to listen to the other side.
The only consolation is that this seems to be a necessary stage, part of our national maturation process, apparently unavoidable.
But even in military conflicts, there's a tradition called "The Christmas Truce." That's what we need right now?#34;a temporary cessation of hostilities in the culture conflict.
Is it possible to find enough common ground to get us through the holidays before returning to entrenched warfare?
Maybe. Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, anti-abortion or anti-criminalization, pro-moral values or ... pro-other moral values, we're all guilty of disrespecting life somewhere along the spectrum, so a little humility is in order. But if none of us is entirely deserving of the designation "pro-life," perhaps those of us who celebrate Christmas can agree to be pro-birth?#34;at least for one particular birth that symbolizes so much hope. Let's hope we're all pro-hope. Heck, if the Boston Red Sox can win their first World Series since 1918 during a full lunar eclipse, then pretty much anything is possible (with the possible exception of a Chicago World Series victory, of course).
And for those who don't celebrate Christmas, we can still share a celebration of light. If not pro-life, then pro-light. Light in the darkness. Light at the end of the tunnel. Light that beckons, warms and illuminates. Light that guides our way. Light that, concentrated and focused, can burn through our illusions, ignorance and obstinacy and allow us to see again.
Hey, it's worth a shot.