WILL THE CURRENT DIVISIVENESS IN AMERICA EVER END?

Most Americans are not too involved in politics.  For the most part, we don’t tend to follow what is being discussed in Congress or the White House too closely,  other than, perhaps, during a Presidential Election year.  It’s hard to miss it then; because, TV coverage seems to be virtually continuous.  For the most part, politics is local in America.  We want to know: who will represent us in Congress, the State Legislature, and as Mayor, Sheriff, etc. And of course, the occasional ballot issues that might be important to us.

This year, however, the Presidential Election was ugly.  Both sides participated in the “mud-slinging”; however, Donald Trump seemed to take particular delight in making on-going, vicious personal attacks on Secretary Hillary Clinton and her husband, Former President Bill Clinton.  Candidate Trump showed no respect for President Barack Obama, questioning his American Citizenship, right up until just before the election, and he also seemed to take pleasure in castigating just about every one of President Obama’s policy decisions or programs.

Candidate Trump focused his travels on middle class, White cities and towns that had high unemployment rates, and which appeared to have limited employment opportunities.  He vowed that he, and only he, could fix their problems.  Initially, he attacked the Mexicans, said that he would build a Wall to keep illegal immigrants from crossing our Southern Border, and also seemed to suggest that “They” were taking all the jobs away from Americans.

Eventually, Donald Trump expanded his attacks, to include virtually any demographic segment of our population that wasn’t White.  It was easier to sell his story to the White people by expanding his target enemy base. Many in his small-town audiences bought into his story, and became some of his most ardent supporters.  All this is just standard demagogue strategy:  “Divide and Conquer!”

Others, who heard Mr. Trump’s story, whether in person or on TV, had misgivings about his Cause and Effect rationale.  Hadn’t that local plant and/or steel mill headed down south when they were still in grade school, and didn’t they read about robots and new technology, ages ago?  Once doubt enters into the minds of a snake-oil salesman’s audience, that sale often goes unmade.  That’s when today’s doubters do a computer check, and they don’t find much about Donald J. Trump, other than:  Money; Women, and Donald!

During the Republican Primaries, the Trump supporters were cheering him on, while the doubters were hoping for another GOP candidate—Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich or Marco Rubio—to knock him off.  Ironically, as Donald Trump said one more dumb thing after another, or one more offensive past deed was revealed, Donald just seemed to escape more times than Indiana Jones, on his worst day.

So, it has now been two and a half months since the Election and, although the divisiveness is not as blatant as it had been, there is still a common “We versus They” attitude among many Americans today.  The opinions of the two groups still manage to reflected in the “Letters to the Editor” sections of local newspapers.  Letters from Supporters of Donald Trump, read something like this:  “Get over it, Trump is your President now, show him some respect, and give him a chance.,” and Doubters read somewhat as follows:  “He’s not my President, he offended everyone in America and, now he has invented ‘Alternative Facts, in order to lie!’”

Somebody asked me on Monday if I thought we’d be at war.  I told her that I don’t think so: I certainly hope not!  But, with the more time that I have spent on this post, I just don’t think that the election aftermath is going to blow over anytime soon.  While the undercurrents from the Election are evident, but existing just under the radar, maybe it would be best to bring it out in the open, and clear the air in order to maintain friendships.

Consider suggesting to people you know–friends, co-workers, neighbors–that you might discuss the current attitude in America, in the wake of the November Election.  You don’t even need to get into the issues, or who’s right or wrong, but “How do we remain our friendship?”  If the grudge, on whichever side is more important, so be it!   But, it can be less stressful to know that people, who were friends before the Election, can respectfully remain friends afterward–even though their views may differ.

There have always been acts of racism committed in the pat; however, recently  Black Churches, Synagogues and Mosques have been firebombed, vandalized or defaced with graffiti.  Lately, however, such acts have become more frequent, and more explosive.  It might be worthwhile for people in the local community, who are equally appalled, to contact these groups, perhaps attend one of their functions, and let them know that you definitely welcome them to the Community!

It’s just too bad that we don’t currently have a True Leader in the White House, who would take this issue head-on.  The Presidential “Bully Pulpit” is the strongest possible medicine for hatred and divisiveness! 

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  1. #1 by Candice Uhlir on January 29, 2017 - 2:10 AM

    Cheeko….good article. You mentioned our divisiveness. Attached is a article from Brookings about the current geopolitical atmosphere. Tribalism plays a big part. Here is the link”

    https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-twilight-of-the-liberal-world-order/?utm_campaign=Brookings+Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=41517002

    • #2 by cheekos on January 29, 2017 - 2:58 AM

      Candice, that’s for sending the link. As I read through it, I don ‘t believe that this is the end of Liberalism, as much as we are seeing an increase in Individualism, Isolationism and Protectionism.

      In Asia-Pacific, Japan does have to step-up and convert its Self-Defense Force, if it wants to help counter China. North Korean has been a backwater, and it will undoubtedly become more aggressive, given the turmoil in Seoul. China has the population, the financial clout, and the technology that we need engaged, not hiding behind the Constitution that MacArthur helped write, back in the 1940s.

      We regarded Pearl Harbor as a reason to engage, they need to address the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as horrendous as they were, saved many more lives in the long-run. Given today’s technology, the U.S cannot do it all.

      China has sunk a great deal of money into its Defense Program (“Guns”); however, if it continues on that path, it will wreck havoc on its Domestic Program (“Butter”). In spite of its huge population, it is aging, the overabundance of Males to Females, due to the one-Child Policy, will eventually cause it to explode from within. Besides, due to its overwhelming focus on Low-End Export products, the current slow global economy ismnking it difficult for it to diversify its economy, and balance the Guns versus Butter trade-off.

      I expect to publish a post, hopefully tonight, on ther problems with Trump’s harassment of Mexico, with a comparison to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

      Over the past 60 years, the concept of a Trade and Cooperation Pact (Common Market, and now European) have led to no wars within Europe–which hadn’t often happened previously. As the EU gets older, it has become bloated, and usurped too much power from the member nations. It has begun to splinter somewhat; but, it needs an-going management, stop micro-managing, return what should be local responsibilities back to its members, and just manage the overall strategy–of keeping things together.

      As Henry Kissinger once said: When I want to contact Europe, who do I call?

    • #3 by cheekos on January 29, 2017 - 5:05 AM

      Candice, any of my readers who might wish to learn a bit more about Tribalism–both past and present–I highly recommend “Tribe”, by Sebastian Junger. It is one of the books on my Recommended Books tab.

      Tribalism doesn’t pertain particularly to Colonial Indians, African or Middle Eastern tribes; rather, it just applies it just applies to all people who prefer close relationships, and in some cases, just to endure stressful situations–the WWII London Blitz, soldiers in combat, etc.

      Literally, tribalism refers to forming common bonds, generally within groups. I found Junger’s description of the optimum size of small groups to approximately 30, with the effectiveness diminishing as the group size increases. Ironically, a military platoon is approximately 30 men or women. Interesting.

      Part of the research on returning war vets has to do with their re-assimilation back into society, following military life. And woman, sociologists report, who are generally considered more social beings, seem not to have as much difficulty re-adjusting, post-military. It’s a great read.

  2. #4 by anessay2day on May 10, 2017 - 5:07 PM

    NON-COMPROMISE, like a Sexually Transmitted Disease, has, with some exceptions, infected all levels of politics – – the grease which lubricates the American system.

    From office-seekers to elected state legislators, governors, city and county officials, members of Congress, Presidents, appointed Cabinet members and agency heads there is no end to it.

    And it’s main product, DIVISIVENESS, has turned the bright promise of the summer of 1776 into our dark winter of deception whereby hope for “government of, for and by the people ” is sliding into a spreading swamp of greed and corruption fed by a dung of racial bias, religious intolerance, political party preference and meism.

    Said divisiveness is so pervasive that total citizen participation in a program, for instance, to stop Child Abuse in America (which kills 5 children every day) most likely would not happen even if by some miracle it passed both houses of Congress.

    Davee Henrie dfh3@cox.net

    • #5 by cheekos on May 10, 2017 - 8:01 PM

      Davee, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

      Although your point is well taken, the point of my post was the current heightened divisiveness–neighbor-against-neighbor–where many people believe that one has to be on one side of the issue, or the other. And unfortunately–in this world of key words, hyperlinks and sound-bites–very few Americans really do understand the underlying issue. And oftentimes, those purporting to explain them, especially in Washington, are lying or mis-representing what they name talking about–more specifically SELLING.

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