Newmann: War of the words |

Newmann: War of the words

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” — Abraham Lincoln, 1858 speech

Well, it’s been a doozy of a week (and we still have a few more days to go).

We’ve had a fair share of saber-rattling, with the president jetting off to Ukraine to proclaim his support for that country while his arch-nemesis, the would-be czar of the former Soviet Union, decided to suspend the Russian nuclear pact with the U.S.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, North Korea launched a couple of missiles into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula in retaliation for the U.S. holding joint military drills with South Korea.

Seems like international one-upmanship is the new flavor of the week. Let’s hope sanity is the new flavor of next week.

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Back on our shores, there’s also been a bit of bellicose chat. A certain congresswoman from Georgia has been offering up the idea of a “national divorce.” At first glance, this concept would seem to fall into the family court of Judge Judy. But the good judge does not have the authority to do what Marjorie Taylor Greene proposes: a “divorce” between conservative and liberal states. Or, in more succinct terms, the secession of red states from their blue counterparts.

Greene is a member of a Republican Party that initially gained strength through opposition to secession. But that was about 160 years — and one Abraham Lincoln — ago. So, what the heck, onto a brand-new chapter in the evolution of The Grand Old Party.

In Greene’s reimagined version of a divided realm, folks who move from blue states to red states could be stripped of their rights to vote for a given period of time (five years in her view). Education would be controlled by each state and laws in red states could also be implemented to discriminate against gay and LGBTQ folks. Anything woke (whatever that means) in those crimson states would also presumably be banned.

It’s pretty easy to think of Greene as a rather eccentric individual who is also a bit divorced from, say, reality. But the representative is also a member of the Homeland Security Committee and has the rather willing ear of Kevin McCarthy, the current Speaker of the House. So, while any version of her concept of a national “divorce” is probably not in the immediate offing (if ever), there are still some rather concerning aspects of her outbursts. And those aspects are … her outbursts. And the outbursts of others in the political arenas who engage in spouting nonsensical — and sometimes dangerous — rhetoric.

Irresponsibility, inaccuracy and wild speculation have all increased as political hallmarks in recent years. And, sadly, the folks who come up with a lot of this stuff probably believe that, if they put it out there, people — or at least some people — will believe it. Take George Santos, the freshman representative from New York, who has a Ph.D. in non-truths. He invents new tales about his old tales which were all tall tales — and basically admitted as much a few days ago. And yet he’s on two House Committees: Small Business and Science, Space and Technology. The price for fabrication seems to be … selection.

But perhaps Lincoln offers a measure of solace. “I am a firm believer in the people,” he said. “If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

Guess, in our current universe, we just have to sort through the drivel to actually find those real facts.

Tom Newmann splits his time between Edwards and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at

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