. . . Divided We Fall

Published: March 7, 2024

By Jim Lichtman
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Sherlock Holmes had just received a message from London informing him that Professor Moriarty’s gang had been captured. But “the Napoleon of crime,” as Holmes described, had escaped.

Over weeks, the great detective had successfully tracked Moriarty to Switzerland. And there, above the roiling falls of Reichenback, the final combat took place. Locked in each other’s arms, Holmes and Moriarty tumbled into the abyss.

While Holmes’s hope for a successful end to Moriarty had succeeded, the hope of readers for more adventures ended. Conan Doyle meant this to be the end of the most popular character in fiction. But something changed.

* *

For months and years, polling and pundits have exhausted all descriptions of a bitter divide that continues to tear apart the greatest democracy on earth. On January 6, 2020, we saw that divide break into insurrection—an attack on Washington’s Capitol building. As stunning and tragic as the event was—another 9/11 attack against democracy—it has faded from the consciousness of millions. If ever there was something to remember in our nation’s history, a violent attempt to overthrow election results should rank near the top of any list of American history in the last 200 years.

America remains locked in a battle between cynicism and hope. What began as differences of opinion has deteriorated into a darkness where the country stands on a fragile precipice.

Tonight, the leader of one party will stand before his fellow Americans, sum up the past four years of struggles and successes, and . . .  Hopefully . . . offer a plan for the future that goes beyond policy, a strategy that helps us step back from the cliffs of insanity and instead work together.

No one speech, no matter how sincere and forthright, will make that hope possible without the willingness of leaders to work together and show us the right path ahead.

However, the choice before all of us is this: Do we want cynicism or hope?

Change begins with us. Civility starts with us. Let both sides look at the problems that unite us and use that as a template for working through the problems that divide us. Unity requires commitment, strength, and sacrifice. It requires political leadership to determine the facts and develop a united plan for success.

This is not about party politics. It’s about placing allegiance to country before party loyalty. While the country continues to be roiled by populist attacks, we must accept one inevitable truth: United we stand, divided we fall.

This is our moment of principle, a moment which will determine our survival as a democratic republic or fall into the abyss of anarchy. For the next eight months, the country must choose between cynicism and hope. Success or failure is up to us.

* * *

So strong was the public’s reaction to the death of Sherlock Holmes, The Strand Magazine, the exclusive publisher of the stories, reportedly lost hundreds of subscriptions. The consequence led Conan Doyle to conceive of a story that brought hope back to thousands of readers who wanted more stories about a character who demonstrated the best we can be: clear, objective, able to discern right from wrong without fear or favor.

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation” (Romans 12:12), let’s move away from darkness, let go of  struggle and pain, accept our differences, and work together to solve our most urgent problems.


  1. I’m hopeful we can still prioritize loyalty to country over partisan politics. The president should be outspoken and forthright in fulfilling a critical part of his oath: to preserve protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

  2. Change begins with us to help unite our democracy and individuals…

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