In watching the brouhaha over alleged links between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, and allegations of who said what, when, to whom, and why, and what the words mean, I’m driven to a conclusion already reached by many.This nation is irreparably, irreconcilably divided against itself.
That became clear during the Presidential elections last year. Even before the vote, researchers identified several key areas in which the two sides of our political divide have become more and more divided. What’s more, that divide has come to dominate different areas and groups in our body politic. To name just one example, since President Trump’s election, the mainstream news media (dominated to an extraordinary extent by the left, progressive wing of US politics) have unleashed a barrage of insults, disdain and attacks that is almost unprecedented in its uniformity. Sure, past Presidents have faced similar attacks from a segment of US media; but there were always almost equal and opposing resources to respond in kind. That’s no longer the case, thanks to the domination of the media by left-wing money and groups and individuals. Alternative views are all but drowned out by the hubbub.
What’s more, the mainstream media no longer care about non-partisanship. They openly advocate for one side or the other. A classic example is an article in the Washington Post last Sunday titled ‘Is media coverage of Trump too negative? You’re asking the wrong question.‘ A key quote:
The president’s supporters often say his accomplishments get short shrift. But let’s face it: Politicians have no right to expect equally balanced positive and negative coverage, or anything close to it. If a president is doing a rotten job, it’s the duty of the press to report how and why he’s doing a rotten job.
There’s more at the link.
I happen to believe, unlike the author, that the question in the title of the article is the right question, and needs answering: and I believe that her cavalier dismissal of the president as ‘doing a rotten job’ is her own partisan perspective, rather than based on fact. Therein lies the problem. She would probably dismiss me as a ‘right-wing nut job’, rather than take my views seriously. (I tried very hard to read her article with an open mind, but the partisanship of which it reeked made that very difficult indeed.) Of course, the same bias and partisanship can be found in articles on the other side of the political divide, as well. The problem cuts both ways.
A blogger writing under the name of Didact summed up the divide in an article last January.
On the one side, we have always had the small-government libertarian types. Back in the days of Jefferson and Adams, they were the Southern Democrats. They were primarily advocates of an agrarian-focused, decentralised, minimalist, small-government philosophy that generally left people the hell alone to get on with their own business.
On the other side, we have also always had the mercantilists, the industrialists, the big-government centralists. They believed that a strong central government was absolutely required to prevent the new nation from being overwhelmed by its competitors and sinking into irrelevance or slavery under a foreign power.
That ideological difference has persisted, in various forms and espoused by various parties, all the way through to the modern day. That is of course well known. Eventually, the divide became so deep and so bitter that it resulted in the War Between the States, which Northerners rather oxymoronically refer to as the Civil War, and Southerners somewhat more accurately refer to as the War of Northern Aggression.
That divide was eventually papered over, at least somewhat, by the North’s crushing victory over the South. To this day, the South still hasn’t fully recovered from that defeat and the years of the Reconstruction Era that followed- and the wounds and scars inflicted by that defeat still linger on.
But- and here is the key difference between then and now- even throughout those times of bitterest division and discord, the two sides were able to talk to each other, right up until the time for talking was over and there was nothing left to do but start shooting.
And that is precisely what America has now lost.
You will not find finer exemplars of the two spirits of America than Presidents Adams and Jefferson. One believed completely in a strong central government; the other believed equally completely in a weak one. The two argued, often contentiously and always with eloquence and conviction, in favour of their respective positions.
Yet the two of them were also closer than brothers. Their respect for each other transcended their political differences and united them in their love for their new country, and their desire to see it succeed. Not for nothing have they been called “Founding Brothers“.
This is what America has lost today. The two sides of the debate no longer talk to each other. They talk past each other.
Again, more at the link.
Many people recognize the existence of this divide in America; but not many have thought about its implications for our nation as a whole. Well, I’m a pastor, albeit a retired one. I try to look at and think about this country from the perspective of my faith, just as others will see it through the filters of their own biases and perceptions and bedrock perspectives. That faith makes me ask: have things gone too far? Have we reached a tipping point?
Jesus warned us: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Right now, our ‘kingdom’ (or country) is divided against itself. Right now, our cities – overwhelmingly left-of-center in their political orientation – are divided against the heartland that feeds and sustains them. Right now, our houses – our families – are often divided on political, social and economic issues.
Can this nation, in its present form, survive a divide so deep, so bitter, and so vitriolic? I don’t know . . . but I have real and very serious doubts. What say you, readers?