June 16th, 1858. Three years before the beginning of the American Civil War. Facing a group of thousands of state delegates, Abraham Lincoln remarked, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.” Indeed, it couldn’t. In fact, it would take a bloody Civil War to bring an end to the issue of slavery between the north and the south, ushering in a new era of American history characterized by a new birth of freedom.
This new birth of freedom, however, has not been characterized by perfection. Debate and division still characterize much of the United States and the world at large, whether that be on Capitol Hill, in which party partisanship is growing ever clearer, in cities, in which the fusion of various cultures creates ethnic and racial tensions, or in research facilities, in which debates among researchers abound over the future of engineering, science, and technology.
Now, with our nation and our planet experiencing a critical turning point, it is up to our society to comprehend these debates. To resolve these disputes. And most importantly, to determine how to move forward -- together.
For if we don’t, we run the risk of living in “A House Divided.”