A house divided

 Photo: Wikimedia Commons Propaganda from World War II.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Propaganda from World War II.

David Moe
Sun City, Calif.

Immigration of Syrian refugees has brought up the old issue of States Rights vs. Federal Rights. I thought this issue was settled with the Civil War, when southern states broke away from the Union, claiming state’s rights superseded the national interest. Now, with several state governors refusing to accept Syrian refugees, this issue has raised its ugly head once again. Of course, states have no authority to refuse refugees. They can say it, but it doesn’t mean anything, because the federal government has the authority to make these decisions. The Civil War is over.

Not only that, but the president’s strategy of fighting ISIS broadens the issue from a national issue to an international one, with the United Nations involved in this unified strategy, because the terrorist effort is not only against the U.S. but against the countries of the world.

Our Republican friends in congress and many of the state Houses of Representatives don’t even recognize the United Nations as a political entity but think only the United States congress has the power to rule the world. For example, the United Nations passed “The Law of the Sea,” and all of the nations of the world have signed it except for two: Libya and the United States. How crazy is that?

If we are to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups, we no longer have the luxury of living in 1776 when the country was mostly rural and Thomas Jefferson was a farmer. We are now living in the 21st century. The world has become a village and we must learn to live together, respect one another, cooperate with one another, and recognize that the survival of our world depends upon the sacrifice of all for the benefit of all. My father used to say, “If we don’t hang together, we will hang separately.” If we cling to our individual interests and do only what is best for ourselves, we will learn what previous generations have learned: that what we have will be taken from us. This was a hard lesson to learn by millions of people through history.

Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” a statement taken from the Bible, because Jesus had said the same words centuries earlier. Let us learn from history.

David Moe graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1964 and received his M.A. degree from San Francisco State University in 1975. He spent four years in the Navy and 32 years in the insurance business. He is married to his wife, Thordis, and they have two daughters and four grandchildren. They now live in Sun City, California.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 4, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.