It's Lowell's Turn column: United we stand, divided we fall

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

I think most people would agree that it’s better to be strong than to be weak.

We all like to belong to strong groups such as family, friends, clubs, sports teams, churches, workplaces, communities, states and nations.

So, how do you build a strong group or organization?

If you listen to popular sayings such as “diversity is our strength,” you may be getting an incomplete and inaccurate idea.

Now before some of you get all bent out of shape, I’m not questioning racial or ethnic diversity, which I’m all in favor of. What I’m questioning is the saying itself and whether it is reliable as a guiding principle, especially when referring to a diversity of values and beliefs.


Although there are times when we need new ideas, it seems to me that most of the time a diversity of beliefs and values is most often a weakness, not a strength.

Think of any group you belong to. Are any of these stronger when everyone has their own idea of how things should be done and what their objectives are? In the real world, almost every group is stronger when everyone has roughly the same beliefs, goals, and ways of doing things. Those who step too far out of bounds in any of these areas either tend to leave the group on their own or are encouraged to by other members.

One of the groups we all belong to is the United States of America. You’d have to be living under a rock to not notice that we’re not very united anymore. Of course we’ve always had disagreements and divisions in this country, but they seem to be growing worse every day. It seems like everyone now has their own beliefs that they hang onto with religious fury, with little regard to facts or evidence.

I’ve written before about how this nation seems to be divided into roughly two groups with very different ideas and how if we are not careful it is conceivable that the country could split, just as many others throughout history have.

But, there is another real possibility: that our country could be destroyed. Maybe not gone, as in taken over by other countries, but become completely unrecognizable from what it once was.

The problem is, while we (Republicans and Democrats) are arguing and bouncing from one extreme to another (depending on who is in power), radical, extremist groups and individuals are slowly taking over and advancing their ideas, hoping that if introduced slowly, they will seem reasonable, necessary and beneficial.

Even though these radical ideas are far outside of what most Americans believe in, it’s easy to start thinking they are mainstream because of the constant attention they get. Of course, that’s part of their agenda - constant exposure until anything normal seems equally absurd.

The truth is that even though we tend to only see our differences, most Americans have the same basic values, and we need to focus on preserving those. We all (conservatives and liberals) believe in some form of freedom, free enterprise, health care, education, family, prosperity and opportunity. We all believe that racism is wrong, that we should help the poor, that we should love each other and that the environment is important and should be protected. What we disagree on are the specifics of what needs to be done and how.


The radicals care nothing for these things, although they often use them as an excuse for their actions. What they do care about is division, destabilization and destruction of the American way of life. They also care about power. While we are fighting over details, they are implementing their plans and slowly getting stronger.

Only if we stop fighting and name-calling and focus on what we have in common will we have the strength to defeat them. We may not agree with each other, but most of us can at least agree about what we don’t want.

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Lowell Anderson has been a photographer and writer at the Echo Press since 1998.
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