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Divided America - where to go from here

Updated on September 22, 2012
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The way I see America right now

I don't remember if the American people were divided like now - ever before. But I wonder what direction they will go and if it will be a united move in that direction. I have friends on both ends of political ideals and I am honest enough to say I would prefer to mix both sides well and take the best out of either side.

After coming to this country I got to know the people here. I did not come with any opinion, very little in depth knowledge, even though people told me all kind of stuff about the American people when I announced I would leave for the US. I learned that their opinion and ideas are made up out of the fabrics of TV shows, media (whatever comes over from here and how it is being interpreted over there) - but hardly ever by reality. And I actually think it is hard to get a true picture unless you spend some time in that country, and I mean that this is true speaking of any country in the world.

I had the opportunity to move around a little, so I got to know a few different places and their people. I had some relationships and made friends here. So I got to know the country and the people, but I also can look at them from a different perspective than being born here and raised here.

Here is a collection of what I learned, probably not inclusive though:

- While American's love animals, there are way too many and too many killed and in shelters, because too many care less about their future. It gives tons of opportunity for "breeding". Yet, animals are not welcome at stores, in busses and many other public places - and I don't understand why.

- I have not come across a country with people so willing to donate freely and willing to help others, sure not everyone does, but the amount of this free support and help is amazing.

- The social life here is different and I never will fully understand it, maybe it also has been influences more and more by the internet. While you are friends at work, you won't get together after work. After work you meet family, but not friends so much. Period.

- The idea of being independent on the other hand is so strong and stubborn that it goes beyond what I will ever be able to fully comprehend. Everybody needs to own his own car, mostly driving it alone to and from work etc. Public transportation as far as it exists is not too well accepted - also because of the fact that it is not layed out well at all - so using the current public transportation in most places, would even be a draw back for me as well. - The elderly still depend on their independence, needing their car beyond the capability of being a save driver, because they have no other choice.

- Family has a strong value here, yet, they are torn apart by distances so many times, but most families have a stronger bond. Yet, there is no time for the retiring parents, because everybody has to work to make a living. Children are affected by daycare places and such, more than I have ever imagined.

- Renting is more expensive than buying your own home, so everybody is reaching out to buy a home to save money. But it also restricts you when you have to move and relocate which is very common in this country. So you are forced to sell, even families being separated for a while, in order to get the transition completed and eventually ending up loosing some money in the whole ordeal.

- America is pretty advanced in the medical field, yet, every day so many suffer from not having insurance, or very limited coverage and end up with bills they will never be able to pay off and their health wrecks their life forever. More and more is being invested in research, while many can't take advantage of the new knowledge anyway.

- Americans are proud to be American. Not every Nation has this kind of pride. The pride comes from being a citizen of the biggest country and so far the most influential country in the world. I never figured out how they accomplished that the whole world is copying from the US and this has been going on for quite some time.

- The Education here, I honestly prefer not to talk about it and wonder where this will go just alone 5 yrs from now. More and more people take advantage of the fact that you are able to home school your children and these children do much better than in public education. I have never heard about home schooling until I came here, not allowed in many countries. But I love the idea, especially when you see how poor the education is. Yet, we pay for education through taxes and feel we are better of teaching our kids ourselves.

- America is an English speaking country, yet, if you don't speak Spanish - in many jobs you will have a disadvantage. There are people from all over the world making up this nation, yet, the only languages that are supported are first Spanish, followed by Kreole, Vietnamese, Chinese and French. That's pretty much the end of it....When I consider the fact of Equal treatment and opportunity....it seems to fail big time here.

- You can live here and yet "travel" the world, when it comes to cultures within this country. There is such a wide variety of cultures, from dining to religion and shopping. It is an amazing experience to understand other cultures better and to learn from them and at the same time feeling some common ground in each nation.

- American prides itself by being free of racism: I see certain nationalities being given more special preferences etc than others. I hear the words African-American, Hispanic-American and sometimes Asian-American.....What about all other nations and why do we separate them by origin when man of them have never seen their place of ancestry related origin? Aren't they all simply Americans?

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The divided American people

We are facing another election and I don't think I have ever seen such a divided opinion in where this country is heading or shall be heading from here. But I see one thing they all have in common: nobody is happy how things are right now, everybody agrees on that.

And I think everybody is somewhat on the same page, when it comes to spending, some voice it more openly than others, but it is scary to look at the numbers for everyone I guess. Also everybody agrees on that we need more jobs and a more stable economy. But there are many ways to get there and most of the time Politicians can come up with an idea and propose the idea....but we will only know for sure if it works when we apply it. Nobody can tell for sure what the outcome will be - there is no guarantee for nobody.

There are two parties to choose, primarily: Democrats and Republican. And it divides the country it two.....one yelling and screaming at the other. It is even dividing the nation itself. How shall either party be successful in such a divided country? Even if one party is elected , the other half will do anything to fight against whatever they have in mind....It reminds me of a saying: United we stand, Divided we fall. This phrase is an American phrase....yet, it lost its meaning when it comes to political views.

I spoke with friends and have friends on both political ends. And we know the news, each party finds something nasty about the other party. So the Democrats will scream out loud the negative stuff about the Republicans and ignore their own negative media and the other way around. No party is left with bad media - as if that solves the issue....???? Reading both, leaves us, hating both...but we have to choose...! What a choice.

What I see when I talk to people and look at it from a distance appears to be that some want to stick with the old familiar ways of America, others want to move it forward more towards a European like style - that is what comes closest to my mind, well, at least away from the old America.

What influences the ideas on both sides is the thought of independence. Some would rather keep the old independence ways in every single move, others would prefer the dependency on each other to move forward.

Some believe strongly America's foundation is on Christian believes, others think Religion has no place in politics and want to remove it completely - while I believe firmly that EVERY nation is somewhat influenced by their major religious beliefs, even in politics. The way we are raised shapes our social thinking and behavior and in the past of every nation, belief was a core foundation at least at one point in time.

Why don't we focus on the common grounds and ideals and go from there, where the American people once came from?


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United we stand, divided we fall

Why can the American people not come together as a nation and pursue the goal together? Why do we need to seek blame and ride on each others opinion? Why do we have to go out on the streets to demonstrate against the other party when we have freedom of speech? The other party has the right to think of their own ideals.

Where does that leave this country when it is so divided? Yes, there will be an election and one party will win. But why do we have to boycott the ideas of the other party instead of trying to make the best out of it, trying to find common ground and move on from there? That is how America got strong and how it moved it to where it has become such an influential nation. But if we keep on being divided....It could even split up this nation so that the USA will some day no longer exist, but will be history like so many countries who divided.

Is that what the American people want in the end? Sometimes I wonder. I wonder if it is possible to keep such a nation of so many nationalities and people under the same "roof" or if sooner or later it is doomed to fail.

I learned to love the people on either side, because each side has something good to offer, they all long for a great nation, they have the same basic goal - a great America where everybody can fulfill their dream and have a decent life, with freedom of speech and religion, nobody judged by their heritage. So many good ideas and it would be tragedy if this idea falls apart.

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    • beadreamer247 profile image
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      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Heducurus, thanks for your response. Your response is honest and realistic I would say. Not sure though if I would say that the elderly are being seen as a useless inconvenience. I have a lot of friends who care deeply about their parents and do whatever they can for them.

    • Hedocurus profile image

      Hedocurus 5 years ago from Olive Branch, MS

      Frankly, I think Americans are well used to being a fractious nation. I believe that some of our greatest flaws are also successes. The existence of no declared national language, for example. This INFURIATES many people in this country. Folks shake the jingoistic saber and decry the need for an "official" language. In truth, the lack of a linguistic requirement has led the US to produce a more inclusive culture. For all our racist, ethnocentric, and plutocratic BS, we still believe in admitting immigrants. There is the regular flare up about immigration reform, but once again, it's an argument we've had before, and will have for the entire history of our culture.

      Do I think we have the best society in the world? No, but I think the fleas come with the dog. To evolve we need debate. This means new ideas, and often the best analysis of a culture and its flaws comes from peploe just like you. Those born and raised with a different way of doing things who choose to live in the new culture. We need that sort pf insight to bring ideas of alternatives to flawed methods and suggest possible solutions.

      Yes, America is a young nation by comparison to some others, but there is a flaw in that observation. Can one truly argue that the nations that existed two hundred years ago still exist? England is no longer run by its aristocracy. Russia is no longer a kingdom. The Holy Roman Empire is no longer comprised of hundreds of collected baronies, duchies, counties, palatinates, and princedoms. The former HRE is now Germany, Italy, Austria, etc. the once mighty Ottoman Empire is vanished into a new form. Even China is no longer an Empire.

      America is the oldest extant constitutional republic in the world. The only placid societies are dictatorships, and those tend to fall rather more quickly than republics. We are bound by common culture despite disagreement on some rather significant aspects of that culture. It is telling that no two nations posessing McDonalds restaurants and Coca-Cola have ever gone to war with one another.

      America will surely fall one day, such is the cycle of life as it applies to societies. We had an awesome spring, we grew and grew in size, complexity, and wealth. Our summer may well have ended, but that is debateable. I for one will be curious to see what happens.

      Now as to the driving thing.... Well that's a stumper. I think nothing will change until a bored suburban housefrau figures out a way to use the "what about the children" argument. Surely by now you've noticed that Americans see the elderly as a useless inconvenience to be tolerated rather than a resource of wisdom to be cherished and celebrated.

    • beadreamer247 profile image
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      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Hedocurus, so in other words being divided is ok for America.....? Don't you think it will tear America up one day? America is relatively young as a country, compared to many others.....and I have seen the development in Europe with all those new independent countries developing since around 1990. Is that the future of America as well?

    • beadreamer247 profile image
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      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Thanks Hedocurus, this was an interesting response. However, how we are in dilemma, especially in times when families are being torn apart and parents live alone, getting old and still depend on a car, even though they shouldn't be driving anymore. We can't just take away their driver's license, because they have no other means of transportation. I also believe that many Americans would not mind using public transportation nowadays, if it just would work....not only the elderly.....

    • Hedocurus profile image

      Hedocurus 5 years ago from Olive Branch, MS

      To the point of "have we ever been so divided before"... Well, yes. We almost always are. There is a tremendous nostalgic blindness regarding American unity, but the moment one begins examining our history we stand revealed as loud, contentious, and violently disagreeable people. The American Revolutionary War is the tip of the iceberg. Americans have disagreed about nearly every single major issue in our history. Even the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor failed to produce eunanymous agreement on policy. It came as close as anything ever has, but there was still a pacifist movement, an isolationist movement, even a nazi sympathizer movement (Charles Lindberg was a strong Nazi sympathizer until the start of hostilities. It cost him a tremendous degree of his heroic status and American sympathy). In the fifties it was the red scare, in the sixties and early seventies we had vietnam, a conflict as divisive as any we have ever known. In short, loud and offensive disagreement is deep in our national character. Fortunately, the necessity of finding solutions tends to produce compromise. America has seen the kind of class struggle currently underway before (think about the big labor wars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). We will no doubt see it again after we calm down from this one. Being a politically involved American is like being in a marriage. Every now and then it's necessary to blow up at one another. It clears the air and give us a chance to step back, sigh deeply, and say "wow... What was THAT about?". The time to worry will be when Americans stop talking to one another, even if it IS shouting.

    • Hedocurus profile image

      Hedocurus 5 years ago from Olive Branch, MS

      Dahoglund, in regards to cars, it wasn't that our cities grew too fast, it was that American industrialists made intentional efforts during the early twentieth century to undermine public transportation. Ford in particular was known for buying up light rail systems so he could shut them down, thus producing greater reliance on automobiles. American cities were built around the use of the automobile instead of around the needs of the citizens. One strong defense many European cities had against this type of agressive idnustrialism was the existence of ancient architecture the society saw as worthy of preservation. Another curious side effect of the european cities' long established roadways, is that most European vehicles are noticably smaller than American ones. Additionally, the European automotive axle width is generally based on the axle width of Roman carts. Because the Romans used a standardized width, that measurement ended up being where the ruts in the road were, making it hugely impractical and somewhat dangerous to make carts with a different axle width. This standardization led to European cities growing up with smaller roads, more easily converted for light rail, than the indulgence of a car for everyone. Your argument regarding the American predeliction for space between neighbors, and the relatively agrarian economy aiding the growth of the car in American society does hold water. The necessity of getting goods to market more quickly and inexpensively was a significant incentive for farmers to get vehicles rather than relying on the horse. Additionally, Ford's policy of offering credit to almost anyone wanting to purchase a vehicle made it a highly affordable lifestyle investment in ways not imitated in Europe until somewhat later.... I didn't start writing with the intent of making an entire treatise on the automobile's effect on civic development. It just kinda got away from me. Sorry to be so verbose.

    • beadreamer247 profile image
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      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Dahoglund, thanks for your opinions. I don't mind belonging to the group of outsiders like you stated. But it seems you don't like it for whatever reason, but that's fine. Sometimes those outsiders see what the insider doesn't want to see or even denies.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Americans have always looked to the opinions of outsiders for some reason, so you are in good company along with such peoples as Charles dickens and G.K. Chesterton among others. Your question about wheter we have ever been so divided, I would say yes. It is part of american culture. The war know as "the American revolution" was one of Americans (colonials) on opposite sides in point of view-those for breaking with English rule and those against it. The 'Civil War" created conflict between citizens that was possibly the bloodiest war in history at the time. Conflict runs through our political process but we have usually come together afterwards as a united country.

      dogs and pets: it is an interesting point you make about pets in public places When I grew up in the 1950's I did bring my dog to places like the post office and the library and nobody kicked me out. I would not dream of doing it now.

      Separating work friends from social friends: I have always had a tendency to have a separate group of friends. Not sure why. It might have to do with the fact that you have to get along with the people you work with and if you have relationship conflicts it might not be comfortable to continue working with them My wife however seems very close to people she used to work with.

      American dependency on cars, I think, is historical. Much of the country was settled in isolated places. Farms were often miles apart. The advent of cars changed that considerably as far as people being able to visit etc. Cities may have grown too fast to develop good public transportation.

      As far as America being a world power, I think a major factor was World War II. We had built up our industrial strength to fight the war. we came out of it better off economically than when we went in. Other nations looked to us for leadership etc.

    • beadreamer247 profile image
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      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Thanks perrya, for showing interest in my thoughts about America. So, you seem to believe it will fall apart one day like almost every empire in the past. Is it too difficult to keep so many different people under "one roof"?

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Just look at the roman Empire to see America's future to some extent. They were the America of the ancient world.

    • beadreamer247 profile image
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      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Thank you billybuc, I am glad I am able to observe this country with my own eyes instead of opinions based on TV and media. It is quite a difference. I still read the news online from my home country and sometimes it is quite interesting to read.....and sometimes what it written about my home country here can be amazing. It hardly ever is fully realistic and true.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A very realistic summary of the United States. Interesting perspective from someone who arrived here awhile ago. I've been here all my life and I have to say I agree with everything in this hub. Well done!