The Two Party Divide
David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,350
So, as a lot of us may have noticed – we live in a time in which political conversation around the dinner table is often tense – when families and others do not simply make a rule forbidding it entirely. I recently had an experience with this at a family Christmas (eve) gathering. I got to talking to one of my fiancé’s relatives, a guy I actually grew up with. He was on a rampage about how things are going with the social services group he works with. Funding is practically nonexistent for anything new – they cannot pay their staff enough – and they keep having to stop services, even to inpatient individuals with intellectual disabilities, because they can’t pay for them.
He blamed regulation and spoke of how the state really doesn’t have any money for any of it. He said that people will vote to fund various things – but then no funds are provided. Of course, he also voted for Trump. His whole family – to my knowledge, are very much Trump republicans.
In any event, we talked for twenty minutes or so, mostly (it seemed to me) on the same page about wanting to help people. Then he said something about how ridiculous the current “federal situation” was. I asked if he was referring to Trump – yep. They were wasting money and time with the impeachment effort – as it wasn’t going to happen. I agreed with him. I said, “I may be a progressive, but, yeah, I think there are much better ways to focus our efforts.” Immediately the smile left his face – and his passion turned off light a switch had flipped. I tried to talk a bit more – but got one or two word answers. See, the fact that I am a progressive – not a Trump supporter, not a Christian evangelical republican like him… that immediately cost me any respect or even affection this man, barely older than me, might have had for me.
Otherwise, he might have been someone I could have been friends with. Hell, we were friendly enough (though never close) when we were kids. My understanding though, is that he follows an extremely conservative/evangelical Christian group that, some thirty years ago or so, made its own group. Mostly a few families, they keep it small. My fiancé had to grow up with that madness – and don’t mistake me – I consider most religion to be madness – but this one is extreme, even by my standards.
So, here is the thing. If we can’t, or wont talk to each other, then it really doesn’t matter what we do or try to do. We are close to being split down the middle as far as parties go – and increasingly, the two sides hate each other – and cannot even be friendly when they actually agree. All it takes is one. Refuse to respect your political/ideological opponent – and you have already lost the fight. For enemies, like friends, must be respected… if anything good is to come of either enmity or friendship.
I don’t see much of that. I see republicans and democrats blocking each other on facebook – I had to block a lot of republicans myself, because they were being unmitigated pricks in all of my posts, attacking the poor, the welfare system, minorities and so on.
Hard to respect them. Hard to respect that. Somehow, we’ve got to find the areas where we agree – and build from there. Somehow, we have to shift our focus away from one party rule and into some kind of mass cooperation/consensus. Neither side, by itself, is going to alter the status quo. Its going to take a lot of people – even people who despise each others ideology – working together. That is what I think.
Yet, in this age of Trump, everyone has hardened even further. The left is split, the right is more extreme than even during the Bush years – and all of the forces right of center… the DNC, the democratic party (most of it), the media, and so on and so forth? All very opposed to change. They want to keep things as they are, with perhaps some slight shifts in, say, how Presidents/government officials speak to the camera.
Eventually I had to leave the Christmas (eve) party, too many people – and the negativity of being rejected, even as a friend, by a guy I had known and liked for years, well, it hurt more than a little. Some day that guy is going to be sort of, almost family… god damn – and he is not the worst of them.
I am beginning to think that the divide is even worse than I had thought. I am wondering there is any way to close the gap, to bring people back together, before this polarization, this extremism, this hatred people feel for each other instead of for circumstances… leads us into the ultimate stupidity of killing each other. Perhaps it cannot be done. Over three hundred million people in the US, more guns than people, militarized police… I do not like the future I see as likely.
Can we even prevent that civil war? It may not be today, or even in a year, but sooner or later, it will come. The more we hate on each other, the more certain that becomes – and the hate has been growing, year by year, my whole life.
December 27, 2019 at 2:38 PM #243411MizzGrizzParticipant
- Total Posts: 1,840
Someone once called this “the cold civil war.”
We’ve all experienced it,people blocking us on social media,family and friends no longer speaking to us..
2016 was a tipping point,it seems to me.The gap between those who love the status quo and those who want to see real change stood unmasked and revealed for all to see.What we all learned about family and friends then and since has not been pretty.
Those are genuine differences between people—however,the media creates and stirs up artificial divides.Pelosi vs.Trump,McConnell vs.Pelosi.Phony adversary stuff,which a lot of people buy into though they are really all on the same side.
Many of the Trump people are simply anti-elitist,a position one can hardly blame them for.That is where you will find the common ground.
Talk to as many of them as you can about the elites,and let them know that on that point you agree with them.Let them know that they’re being encouraged by some very devious people to punch down instead of looking at their real oppressors.
Believe it or not,some of the Trump people can be reasoned with better than can MSNBC Democrats.
December 27, 2019 at 2:41 PM #243412Mick063Participant
- Total Posts: 571
We have collectively reached Oligarch Nirvana.
The divide is so deep and thorough, we will never unite to save ourselves from disaster capitalism. No matter how bad it gets. Historically, socialism sweeps in to save us from disaster capitalism. FDR’s “New Deal” countered the great depression. Obama’s stimulus countered the home mortgage crisis (half assed compared to the New Deal, but probably 21st century political reality in the face of economic disaster combined with political polarization).
I doubt we will use government spending to bail out the working class next time. No matter how disastrous it is. We have been conditioned to accept “super austerity” instead. We commonly hear the phrase “This is how fascists rise to power”. So overused, the sensory overload has mitigated the impactful meaning of the phrase, but really…..This is how fascists rise to power. It begins with polarization and blaming a portion of the indigenous citizenship for our ills (libruls/Deplorables), and creating a faceless enemy that we hate and despise. Often without really knowing why except that our peer group demands it of us. That hate super cedes common sense. The prevailing attitude is that; “There is no fence sitting here. You are with us or against us.” And really. How can there be any fence sitting when there is no true opposition party to oligarchy?
My polarization is different. It isn’t based upon political party anymore. It is based on class and wealth disparity. I don’t care what party you belong to. I only care if you subscribe to politics centered upon wide spread exploitation of the working class for the benefit of a wealthy few. If you do, I despise you equally regardless of your political party affiliation. This isn’t fence sitting. This is combating the death throes of Representative Democracy.
"I welcome their hatred" Franklin D Roosevelt
December 27, 2019 at 3:42 PM #243422ThouArtThatParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,882
A thoughtful reply to an insightful vignette chronicling our social and political affairs.
And as you note, the only winners when the finger pointing goes extreme are those that rule from above.
Our collective distraction only increases their power.
Such is the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in today.
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
- John F. Kennedy
"In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
- George Orwell
"They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
Rather than truth as the authority."
- Gerald Massey
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
December 27, 2019 at 4:32 PM #243439gordyflParticipant
- Total Posts: 835
For starters, people should stop watching cable news, or at least stop taking those shows so seriously.
CNN, MSNBC and FOX News are half news / half nonsense.
December 27, 2019 at 4:43 PM #243448
December 27, 2019 at 5:21 PM #243458sadoldgirlParticipant
- Total Posts: 774
This reminds me of the X-mas family gathering, when I mentioned
that the impeachment was just partisan theater, and that Trump’s
approval would rise now as Clinton’s did. My nephew hit the ceiling.
After a short debate he turned away. In the end I let him know that
I was aware that I always seem to take a minority opinion about
issues like Vietnam, 9/11, Afghanistan, WMDs, Libya etc.. It is of no
use to discuss the individual political “hot spots” of the time. We can
only unite – as you did in the beginning – as the debate comes to the
David/Golia points. And this is the biggest issue, where even the
original tea party met up with OWS until they were abused by the
larger organizations. Thus I always try to point out that the little
guy, worker or farmer gets the shaft, while the corporations and the
banksters profit. That you and your acquaintance could agree on.
December 27, 2019 at 6:34 PM #243472bazukhovParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,597
“It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.” Lord Acton
The USA has always been divided. Rural/Urban, Rich/Poor, North/South, Conservative/Liberal.
The Republican/Federalists disputes came close to tearing the country apart with some of the New England states preparing for secession. Violence ensued between the factions. People were imprisoned or deported for what they said or wrote during the War of 1812. Both sides accused the other of being traitors and demanded trials and hangings. The Brits saved us from ourselves when they made generous concessions during the peace talks.
George Washington’s Farewell Address warned of the dangers of political parties and saw them as a threat to democracy.
At this moment there seems to be a complete lack of “cooler heads” to prevail. The Republicans are now formed and become a cult of personality. The Democrats have become chaotic with the disputes among factions.
We are certainly living in “interesting times” as the curse goes.
Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites
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