“A nation divided against itself cannot stand” is a phrase attributed to Abraham Lincoln. He certainly believed it and went to war to end the divisions. More than one hundred and fifty years later, that remains an aspiration, not an achievement. “E Pluribus Unum” used to be America’s national motto, until it was replaced by “In God We Trust.” The Unum is further away than ever, and God has His work cut out. Increasing numbers of Americans appear to have less and less in common. They seem to be seeking, not for unity, but for grounds to distrust their institutions and despise each other. Presidents regularly intone, ‘My fellow Americans.’ Where is the fellowship?
Not at Mar-A-Lago, or any of Donald Trump’s other hang-outs. When he left the White House, the rumour was that half the attorneys in New York were ready to work for him while the other half were gearing up to put him in jail. But nothing seems to have happened. ‘The Law’s delay’: Hamlet did not know half of it. The US is awash with conspiracy theories, most of which sound like the scuttle-butt in a madhouse. Yet one is remotely plausible: that Democrats are in no hurry to indict Mr Trump because they want him charging around loose in 2024, to sabotage the Republicans’ Presidential campaign. If he does not win the nomination, he might well emulate Theodore Roosevelt, whose ‘Bull Moose’ candicacy delivered the White House to the Democrats.