The DIVIDE in America, Part I
The GREAT American Division
There is INDEED a GREAT Divide
In the book, Generations The History of America's Future 1584 to 2069, by William Strauss and Neil Howe published in 1992, Messrs. Strauss and Howe was on target when they predicted that there will be strong political/ideological divide between modernist(liberal) and traditionalist(conservative) Americans in the early 21st century. They further discussed that besides this political division, there is going to be a further division among geographic lines between liberal East/West Coast Americans and conservative Midwestern/Southern Americans. They even reported that such political and sociocultural division among Americans will result in talks that some states will make the decision to secede from the rest of the United States.
Messrs. Strauss and Howe were not the only social observers who predicted that there was going to be a coming divide in the 21st century among political and sociocultural lines. There are other social observers and many pundits- conservative, liberal, libertarian, independent, and politically unaffiliated- who proclaim that there is indeed a divide, even an ideological civil war between conservatives and liberals. Furthermore unlike the past, many conservatives and liberals are becoming very unapologetic regarding expressing and acting upon their beliefs regarding the key sociopolitical issues of today.
There are some conservatives and liberals who contend that although they have different even opposite beliefs and viewpoints regarding issues, both factions assert that each faction has a right to their particular observation regarding the issue at hand. They are mature enough to have discussions without any animosity on both their parts, even seeing the issue in a different light. In essence, they have the capability of agreeing to disagree.
However, there are more staunch conservatives and liberals who will not agree to disagree on certain key issues. It is their intention to go for the psychic jugular of their opposition. Their contention is their particular outlook on such issues are the only legitimate way and the opposition's outlook is an uneducated synopsis at best and a thoughtless hyperbole at worst. In this hub, I shall discuss the key issues of the most contention between conservatives and liberals. In Part I of this hub, I will address the following : (1) women's reproductive freedoms/rights issues, (2) amnesty program, and (3) the election and presidency of President Obama. In Part II of this hub, I will speak on (4) gender equality (5)welfare/social programs, and (5) race issues.
Women's Bodies, Women's Rights??
The Issue of Women's Reproductive Freedom/Rights
The subject of women's reproductive freedoms and rights is a subject of strong, even vehement contention between conservatives and liberals. In fact, it is the MOST contentious issue between both factions. The political divide oftentimes override the gender division regarding this highly controversial issue. For instance regarding the issue of abortion, Conservatives vehemently assert that life begins around conception. They contend that abortion is murder because it is the taking of a human life. Liberals present a counterargument that there is no human life until there is viability on its own. They further argue that an embryo and fetus in its early stages are not classified as a viable baby.
There is even another argument to this scenario. Conservatives contend that if a woman gets pregnant, she should own up to her responsibility and not terminate the pregnancy. They maintain that for a woman to have an abortion is a selfish act of convenience on her part. Liberals assert that a woman has the unmitigated right to the control her body. They further contend that no woman should be subjected to an unwanted pregnancy which could effect her physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, even psychically. They proclaim that every child should be a wanted child.
Conservatives insist that whether the child is wanted or not is of no consequence. They even state that if the child is not wanted, the latter could always be put up for adoption as there are couples who want children but are unable to conceive. There are even some Conservatives who see abortion as a hedonistic act of expediency. It is their assertion that if a woman has a relationship, she ought to realize the ramifications and responsibilities of the relationship. They maintain that such ramifications should not expediency done away with. Liberals believe that women should have absolute control over her body. They add that relationships can end in pregnancy because contraception is not always effective. They state that why should a woman be penalized, even punished because of an unplanned pregnancy. They see the Conservative anti-abortion position as a deep anti-woman bias in relation to the good girl/bad girl scenario. In their estimation, Conservatives feel that if a woman has relationships, she is a bad girl who should be punished.
Another source of contention is companies/corporations paying for birth control for its employees. Conservatives argue that paying for birth control is an infringement of companies/corporations who do not believe in birth control for religious reasons. They assert that such companies/corporations should not have to pay for birth control, adding that the employee should pay for her own birth control. Some would go further to state that they are not going to pay for women who elect to indulge in a particular lifestyle. Liberals argue that birth control is an intrinsic part of women's health care and to goes to reason that companies/corporations should pay for such health care. They further contend that birth control should be made accessible to any woman who needs it, adding that people should not mind paying for such health care. They assert that the particular religious beliefs of a company/corporation should have no bearing regarding birth control as there IS separation of church and state. There are a few Liberals who will argue that if Conservatives had their way, they would do away with birth control altogether as the latter believes that women who use birth control are under the radar in terms of gender so to speak.
AMNESTY.........Yet Another Source of MUCH Contention
Oh, Yes..............The Amnesty Issue
The amnesty issue is a much contested issue between Conservatives and Liberals. Conservatives see the amnesty program as a bane of their existence. They maintain that they do not mind immigration per se but they view the current group of immigrants as not beneficial to the American fabric. They assert that immigration is fine if the immigrants possess the prerequisite education and/or skills to contribute to society. Liberals contend that America is a nation of immigrants. They further counter that these immigrants suffered under intolerable conditions in their respective countries and this country granted them the opportunity to better their lives. They assert that those who complain regarding the current group of immigrants had immigrant ancestors who came to America from oppressive countries.
Conservatives contend that the current immigrants really do not want to assimilate into American culture and society. They maintain that unlike past immigrants who wanted to assimilate into American culture/society and learn its values, these immigrants want to retain their particular culture and language. these immigrants insist on retaining their culture, even speaking their language. They argue that the current group of immigrants believe that they are not the interlopers but it is THE FORMER who are interlopers. Liberals maintain that there is a racial basis to many Conservatives being against the amnesty program. They argue that America is becoming more heterogeneous and diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. They further assert that America is no longer a Caucasian nation and Conservatives are not quite comfortable with that aspect. They contend that Conservatives view such immigrants as the harbinger of an increasingly multiethnic/multiracial America.
Conservatives see the current immigrants as quite problematic. They cite how these immigrants are creating even a precarious socioeconomic condition in America. They argue that there are enough Americans who are in dire socioeconomic situations and these immigrants will only exacerbate the problem. They find it fallacious that Americans who have socioeconomic problems should take priority over these immigrants. Liberals maintain that America has the economic resources to assist these immigrants in making a better life. They contend that if monies can be spent for wars and given to corporations, surely such monies can be found to help these immigrants. They assert that the present dire socioeconomic situation in America is the fault of the corporations and the wealthy, not the immigrants.
Conservatives argue that the current immigrants are taking jobs from Americans that need them, pushing some Americans further into poverty. They even contend the competition for jobs which create animosity between these immigrants and other sociocultural groups in addition to other affected groups. There are a few Conservatives who state that if more of these immigrants come to America, there is going to be a sociocultural war, especially for those who are at the highest level of competition with the former regarding jobs and neighborhoods. Liberals assert that these immigrants are doing the jobs that Americans do not want to do as such jobs are onerous and odious. They further argue that these immigrants are working at a fraction of the pay that Americans are paid. They maintain that, if anything, these immigrants are adding and enriching the economy as other immigrants have done before them.
President Barack Obama-Who is HE Really?
If the twice elected President Barack Obama has not been the source of contention between Conservatives and Liberals, then no other issue is. The election of President Barack Obama marked a new era to many Americans. He was the first Black president. There are many who feel that President Obama represents a new, exciting America. To some Americans, President Obama is not the usual politician but someone who genuinely cares about people.
Conservatives consider President Barack Obama to be the GREAT DIVIDER. They argue never before in history has an American President divided people along racial, gender, socioeconomic, and ideological lines. They maintain that President Obama has not fostered understanding along these lines but further exacerbated division among people of different races, genders, socioeconomic classes, and ideological persuasions. They assert that President Obama made America worse, especially socioeconomically, not concentrating on socioeconomics issue but instead prioritized sociopolitical issues. Liberals assert that President Barack Obama was the GREAT UNITER. They contend that the overall climate in America is better because of President Obama. They remark that he stimulated the economy, reducing unemployment and instituted the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare which is a great help to those who previously could not afford health insurance. They maintain that President Barack Obama is indeed a voice for the oppressed and underdogs of society.
Conservatives remark that President Obama is anti-American and his real intention to dismantle, even destroy American culture, values, and/or tradition. They maintain that President Obama want to make America a multiracial, multicultural nation. They further argue that President Obama sees other nations on a par with America, citing that America is exceptional then other nations are. Liberals assert that President Obama is very American. They maintain that the old America is becoming antiquated. They believe that American must become a more inclusive nation if she is going to thrive in the postmodern world. They feel that the idea of American hegemony over the world is a bulwark of imperialism, ethnocentrism, and even racism.
Conservatives contend that President Obama wants to create a more intrusive government, a nanny state. They maintain that with that vein that it is President Obama's intention to further decimate the middle class through implementation of more social programs. They state that President Obama desires to create a permanent, dependent underclass. Liberals assert that President Obama want to implement programs to care for the most vulnerable among us. They add that government programs are essential to safeguard people against abuses by companies/corporations and other entities. They further contend that social programs are a socioeconomic safety net for those in terms of need. They cite the implementation of such social programs such as social security and how such a program provides financial security for our elderly and those who need it.
In Part II of this hub, I will discuss even more issues which are a source of contention and division between Conservative and Liberal Americans.
© 2015 Grace Marguerite Williams