When I wrote 10 days ago "Which Wedge Will Win the 2012 GOP Primary?" I never thought that the wedges would start showing up so early in the race. I mentioned "Birtherism" as my Wedge 1 as a joke, because I never thought any of the 2012 candidates would bring it up. So, of course, in last Sunday's Parade magazine with Rick Perry on the cover, the Texas Governor did exactly that, with a wink, but brought up Barack Obama's birth certificate nonetheless, knowing full well which constituency he was speaking to.
But Wedge number 3 on my list, "In God We Trust", has also reared its divisive head. This UPI article today, "GOP to Pass Bill to Affirm 'In God We Trust'" gives some details about the effort, led by Virginia Representative Randy Forbes (R) to reaffirm IGWT as the national motto and "supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools and other government institutions." The vote should take place this coming Tuesday, taking precedence over mere jobs bills. The following video tells a little more about Congressional Prayer Caucus leader Randy Forbes and the GOP effort to strengthen this sad relic of the McCarthy years.
Our longtime unofficial motto mentioned in the video above, E pluribus unum (Out of the many, one) was put on the seal of the United States by Act of Congress in 1782, but it was never made the official "National Motto" so that left the door open to declare another, less inclusive, official motto in the McCarthy era.
IGWT was first put on a few coins in another divisive period, the Civil War, but the era of 1950s intolerance saw "god" rammed down America's throat officially with the words "under god" added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, the phrase IGWT ordered on all coins and currency in the mid fifties, and IGWT finally made The National Motto in the US Code in 1956. The new official motto -- forced through Congress in the time of the second Red Scare -- is not even as old as I am, so I'll go with E pluribus unum, which has served the nation well since the 18th century, rather than the recent one that excludes a significant percentage of our population that no longer trusts in old myths.
But causing conflict and excluding people who are unlike him is exactly what Randy Forbes is doing, isn't it?