Uncommon Sense

January 8, 2019

E Pluribus Unum

I like to watch “reality” TV shows, as opposed to the unreality TV shows marketed as reality TV shows (like The Apprentice, Survivor, etc.). The shows I like are those in which people show off their crafts. I have always enjoyed watching the choreography of a short order cook while in diners, so I like cooking shows. I used to do a bit of wrenching on my own cars, so I like auto repair and customizing shows and I ran across a delightful show the other day, “Barnwood Builders.” This is a work crew, located in West Virginia that fell into the profession of dismantling log barns and houses for reassembly (Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle). These are very likable people. They are hard-working, fun-loving, and honest Americans who refer to themselves as “hillbillies.” And I guess they are, some of them even live in “hollers.” (For the foreign-based readers of this blog a “holler” is vernacular for a hollow in the land, a plot of land with gentle hills around it.) They also show a deep respect for the original builders of these erections, who usually used little more than an axe to shape the logs stacked to make the buildings. The modern crew uses traditional tools but modern ones too.

Their self deprecating humor and pun throwing is quite refreshing in its playfulness (and cleanliness). For example, in discussing finding workplaces for which the directions were a little … vague, shall we say (such as “over thataway a fur piece”), the line is “throwed out” that “Those people believe hillbillies don’t have GPS.”

These folk are typical of the Americans I have run into in my travels. I haven’t been to every state but I have been to the four corners and visited much in between and most of the people I have encountered seemed very likeable, nice people, hard working, honest.

So, what has happened to us? We seem now a nation divided. On the coasts we have pointy-headed intellectuals who don’t have the sense to come in out of the rain and in the middle we have “deplorables,” whatever that means. Why is there all of this misperception and mistrust. I suspect it is because we have all been conned for far too long politically, but still.

Back when I was a youngin’, the nation’s motto was E Pluribus Unum, a lovely Latin phrase that means “out of many, one.” It spoke to the Grand American Experiment in self governance whereby we would govern ourselves, that “we didn’t need no stinkin’ kings or popes” to govern us. And we would do it by forging one will out of many. This was accomplished through disputation and diplomacy politically through the “go along to get along” facility of compromise, thus we could get to a single place for all Americans. That didn’t mean we all got what we wanted, but each component of American society got something close to what they wanted from time to time and not too far from what they were comfortable with most of the time. However, in many conservative circles today, compromise is a dirty word, something never to be entertained and we are now in a win at any cost political culture.

In 1956 we jettisoned E Pluribus Unum, in favor of “In God We Trust” and look at how that turned out. Seems “God’s Children” love making war with one another. Since it has been that way for a very long time I guess that is what we can trust this God fellow for. Maybe we should go back to our former motto. It conveys a goal worth getting.


  1. In god we trust has a nice ring to it, but like all religious endeavors they fall flat of the promises. Out of many—one, has a more humanistic feel to it and it’s more workable when you start with unity, whereas religion has always divided. But, on another note too, Algorithms on social media pick what people read based on likes and shares. There’s worry that social media algorithms are creating filter bubbles, so that they never have to read something they don’t agree with, thus causing more tribal thinking and confirmation bias. That would be page two.


    Comment by jim- — January 8, 2019 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

    • I have to ask “trust to do what?” And we clearly don’t trust in god, we have the Pentagon with a budget of a bazillion dollars a year to protect us. If we trusted God, would we do that and all of the other things we do (regulations for business and citizens, police, fire departments, etc.) As a motto it says absolutely nothing and, in addition, it is not true. The former motto at least was a laudable goal and a reminder of what we pledged to do.

      On Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 1:34 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 9, 2019 @ 10:07 am | Reply

      • If we left everything up to god? Wow! We’ve seen His will in action. That’s why we have secular laws.

        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by jim- — January 9, 2019 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  2. I might live in a delorable region, but that doesn’t make me one! Well maybe a little… But I assure y’all I did not vote for the Orange Menace.

    Nice post Mr. Ruis.

    P.S. I don’t have a pointy head either 😉 Nor would I be accused of being an intellectual, but I do have sense enough to come in out of the rain. Odd, I was a diver for so long, I was wet all day, and I still to this day hate getting caught in the rain.


    Comment by shelldigger — January 8, 2019 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  3. Tune in tonite for the two biggest unreality shows around. First, the Trump hour, and second, the political corporate media hour hosted by the forked tongue Pelosi and Schumer, along with hack commentators from the Dem and Repub parties. Talk about deplorables all around. Maybe Cambridge Liz can bring me a beer from her common household ice box. Shoot me now.


    Comment by Zach — January 8, 2019 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  4. Love this line … we jettisoned E Pluribus Unum, in favor of “In God We Trust” and look at how that turned out.

    Look how that turned out indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Nan — January 8, 2019 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  5. I remember E. Pluribus Unum and for what little is is worth, I prefer it to any alternatives. As to the “in doG we trust”, well, OK, but which of the many thousands of doGs humans have invented? Surely I cannot accept nor trust the one the xtians worship and give money to. I don’t accept that one even though hhe/she/it was force fed to me many long years ago.


    Comment by Walter Kronkat — January 9, 2019 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

    • This was/is part of the insidious campaign to get Christianity woven into our government more so than it is already.

      On Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 2:33 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 10, 2019 @ 8:49 am | Reply

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