Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said he is concerned internal divisiveness in the United States could jeopardize the country’s future.
"Unlike in the past, where we were unified and drew in allies, currently our own commons seems to be breaking apart," he wrote in a column posted The Wall Street Journal. The column was adapted from his forthcoming book, "Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead."
"What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries; it is our internal divisiveness. We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future, instead of rediscovering our common ground and finding solutions.
"All Americans need to recognize that our democracy is an experiment — and one that can be reversed. We all know that we're better than our current politics. Tribalism must not be allowed to destroy our experiment."
He said Americans must live by the inscription on U.S. coins: "E Pluribus Unum" — from many, one.
In the Journal piece, Mattis also explained why he had accepted the post of defense secretary.
"When it comes to the defense of our experiment in democracy and our way of life, ideology should have nothing to do with it," he said. "Whether asked to serve by a Democrat or a Republican, you serve. 'Politics ends at the water's edge.' That ethos has shaped and defined me, and I wasn't going to betray it."
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