Commonsense tells us that unity is necessary for any nationwide endeavor to succeed. Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach, set an example for all of us when he was dying of cancer. “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Those words pertain to what exists in this nation today more than anyone can imagine.

Our government is divided to the extent that our future is threatened. Elected officials on the left and right are so busy resisting each other at every turn they maintain a political climate that grows more divided by the day. Worse, the public in America is divided just as much … or more. We must try to bridge the gap and never give up.

We were given good advice right from the beginning, from George Washington, the first president. Unfortunately, his good advice has fallen on closed ears ever since. He warned of troubles from political parties and interference from foreign nations, among other things. Are those things pertinent now?

According to history, other Founding Fathers, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton included, had similar feelings. Most, or all of their fears, have come to pass. Something Ben Franklin said when the Constitution was being debated rings true now as much as it did back then. He warned that unless they hung together they would all hang separately.

We may not hang, but we will pay a heavy price unless we work to end the corrosive split that is an ongoing threat to unity and security. Commonsense appears to have been lost in current thinking … if anyone is, indeed, thinking. What happened to compromise in politics? Rock-hard opposition has taken its place, apparently. Too many want to have power to force others how to live, how to worship, what to do and how to do it.

As someone observed long ago, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. From the looks of things these days, holding power of government corrupts government and officials and destroys compromise. The one bastion of power must, above all, be the people, not parties or individuals.

Under the circumstances, that may be a mountain too steep to climb. Nevertheless, the people, all the people, must try to see what’s happening – the danger – or face the unthinkable. If we cannot find common ground other nations surely will not only interfere, but will become our masters.

One of the biggest problems to solve is to convince all Americans to want to improve. With so many power-hungry people around, though, how can that be done? At the moment, it’s clear that just might be the biggest problem the nation faces. The Founding Fathers must be turning over in their graves.

How do we soften our attitudes? How do we understand what separates us as a people and nation? We might consider the fact that we are more alike than different. Once again, commonsense gives us the truth that should grace our lives. We were given the ability to reason, yet we manage to shun reality.

Perhaps the most important consideration is faith. Or lack of it. Little by little, as a people, we have eliminated faith from our lives. President Ronald Reagan gave us direction. Maybe that was why he was so popular. His public service and speeches always reflected that faith. “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God,” he said, “then we will be a nation gone under.”

There’s no mystery, really. Reagan and the Founding Fathers believed the United States was created as a nation under God. We the people must restore that. Never give up.

Collins lives in Greenwood and is retired from the Index-Journal where he served in several capacities, to include as the paper’s executive editorial editor.