A few years ago I had to have several giant oak trees in my yard cut down. It broke my heart. They were massive trees that must have taken decades to grow. The University of Pennsylvania website on trees claims that some oaks can live for over 500 years. I don’t know if mine had but they were certainly over 100 years old at least. They had to be cut down to make room for a new septic system the old one having failed.
There were plenty of trees on the lot. Our one acre yard had over 60 trees on it. There were at least seven other trees as big as the ones we cut down. It was still sad, though to see them fall.
The men doing the cutting couldn’t just cut them all at once. They started piece by piece cutting limbs from the top to make it easier to manage. Only when all those bits had been removed could they fell the trunk. A mighty Oak is not an easy thing to remove.
My fear is that the same is happening to our country.
Watching the election results this week increased my fears.
There is such a divide between the parties ideologically. One side favors smaller government and lower taxes while the other favors a larger, more powerful federal government with higher taxes and more services. This disparity between these two beliefs is causing our country to be ripped apart.
I’m not going to triangulate a position above each party’s beliefs. I fall very firmly into one camp.
My sadness stems from the divide that is being formed in our country between these two opposite political views. Maybe it has always been there in one form or another. Political campaigns all the way back through our history have been divisive. Maybe it’s just my perspective but it seems worse now than ever and the stakes seem higher now than ever before also.
It’s as if our country is that huge Oak tree that is being dismembered bit by bit as we fight over how best to proceed as a nation. No foreign enemy can conquer us but we can certainly conquer ourselves.
This year I’ll be voting my political beliefs. I hope, however, that our nation can overcome the disparity separating us and find unity so that we can continue to be great.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at [email protected]