By Mack Samples|
One of my favorite professors at Ohio University when I was in graduate school was a political science professor. He had a Ph.D. in political science, but unlike many of his colleagues, he also had some common sense. He was always talking about
what he called social cement.
There had to be something, according to him, that bound people together in order to have a stable society. Or, put into good West Virginia dialect, you could put two hundred million people within the confines of the borders of the United States and call it a nation. But if those people did not have common interests, did not cherish the same values, did not share the same language, did not have a common religious belief; that nation would soon splinter apart, and to quote him directly, there would be one hell of a mess.
Further, he argued, if the nation did indeed splinter apart and someone was of a mind to put it back together, that someone (or group of someones) would have to try to identify some common threads, or social cement, that would somehow bind the people back together. He often used the American Revolution as an example. The people in the thirteen colonies no longer believed in the British Monarchy and they wanted to overthrow it. That monarchy was a part of the social cement that held the colonies together. So the Founding Fathers did not want to get rid of it without having some idea about what to put in its place.
They looked around them and saw that the majority of the colonists spoke English, the
overwhelming majority of them believed in the Christian God and the freedom to
worship that God as they pleased, and it was pretty obvious that the colonists mostly all
believed in representative government. So those very wise men who were
crafting the new order included all of those ideas in the documents they were drafting to
form the new government. (I know that the intellectuals among you who are reading this
will remind me that many of the Founding Fathers were not really true believers, but
were Deists). That may be so, but they were at least smart enough to know that just
about all of the residents in the colonies were true believers. Accordingly, they laced all
of their writings with references to the Christian God.
At any rate, that group of men that we call the Founding Fathers put together a government with enough social cement to carry this nation through two hundred plus years. They were, of course, guilty of ignoring the entire slave population. We know what the result of that was. It took a civil war to re-run the cement. Fortunately, there were enough common bonds on both sides of the conflict to get America back on track.
I think about that old professor all the time as I look around modern America. Are we losing that social cement? Our president says we are no longer a Christian nation. If you go into the major cities, especially our nation's capital, you wonder if the majority of us speak English. And it appears that we cannot elect people who have enough sense to run a representative government.
Where is our social cement? Is it going to be the National Football League? That seems to be what people worship. It certainly has taken over the Sabbath day. When I go into the shopping malls I see more t-shirts that say Arron Rogers or Tom Brady than I do ones that say Jesus Christ!
Are we becoming a society where those who live in the urban areas live by a different set of values than those of us who live in the country? A close look at the election results from the 2008 election reveals beyond all doubt that President Obama carried the urban areas just about everywhere, but carried practically no rural areas. Is this something to be disturbed about? Are those of us in the rural areas in danger of having to live by the values espoused by the urbanites? From what I read, I think that is already happening in
Perhaps I'm worrying about things that are not worth worrying about, but some of these developments make a person wonder.
I loved to hear that old professor at Ohio University lecture and the more I look around me, the more I think about some of his lectures. Are we about to splinter?