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The Great American Political and Social Divide

Updated on June 1, 2017

If you are worried about climate change take a look at here, 1 billion years of drastic changes.

At some point living for today makes the most sense.
At some point living for today makes the most sense. | Source

What is a divide?

The first suggestion is to look up how our nation dealt with the larger population of native Americans. Those were “wars” that lasted centuries. We know our history lessons do not view it that way but it is just a natural fact that America was fully divided in that time.

Next look up the common names of Whigs and Tories in America. Again we were taught of the Revolutionary war as all occupants of America rebelling. So very untrue. A very large portion were Loyal to the Crown of England.

Now the above references are to actual armed conflicts – hard to get much more divided but there you have and of course you know we will get to even more bloody divisions on our soil. Just a note to include the Anglo-Spanish war that was on this soil with England kicking Spain basically out of the Colonies.

Now our conflicts today are mostly arguments and debates and foul language being lobbed in a division between what we would call Social Progressives and those more conservative than that. Of course we also face a very simple divide that is fairly normal about those who support the President of the United States and those who do not.

Let us pause here and reflect on an important part of “non-armed or non-violent” division and society. Just forget about kooks amounting to far less than a .05% of protesters. Because someone yells louder and acts more upset and vulgar it does not change facts of division. It is either a tactic or pure emotionalism. Either one is only relevant to a very small outlier type segment of the divide. So we look at real division in our country. Is it really more than just a shift in priorities?

Look at it this way please. That big old pipe line. A horrible threat to our natural balance. But many argue that being without jobs is something important to fix. And a whole lot of people want to get out of the Middle East oil dependence as it costs lives and billions. The divide is simply a matter of priorities. And most often there is some fear. Joe is afraid we may be facing another 9/11 while Bill believes education is a higher priority than security. A simple where to spend division.

I have gone this route and it ain't no joke. This is the divide.

I like some divides

The Grand Canyon is a great divide.
The Grand Canyon is a great divide. | Source

Hate the idea but take it easy on the one that has it. Remember the Civil war had dads killing sons.

Now we are moving along in history. Why did Vice President Burr shoot Founding Father Hamilton in a duel? I would call that a political divide at its highest. Then we move right along to the cane wielding and striking on our Senate floor. Why did Preston Brooks beat Charles Sumner with his cane right there in the Capitol? Some say it was about abolition of slavery but that is only slightly true. It was about expansion of slavery which is a distinction with a difference. Money?

Of course 500 thousand dead in our Civil War. Need we say more?

Did you ever wonder the real reason the U.S. did not send troops in time to the Alamo?

Of course the use of Federal Troops to establish California, The New Mexico Territory, and Texas was very divisive.

We just jump ahead to the World Wars. Does anyone not know that there was a huge nearly 50/50 division on entering both wars? The violation of the “Sussex Pledge” (German submarines not attacking civilian ships) in WWI and Pearl Harbor for WWII were so heinous that the political climate changed. Yes there were other factors but it really was public opinion that changed so drastically that representatives had no choice but to stand together or lose.

The “Korean War” was not formally declared. Over 1 million died there but no war was declared. That tells you very clearly that the Congress was not fully behind the conflict. And that is a huge division. Those hostilities did not end with peace but rather a cease fire.

Now you may be way ahead of me and be thinking of McCarthyism. Wow was that a horrible time. Literally rounding up those considered to be un-American.

Let us save the more current for a little bit and reflect on the above divisions of the United States. These divisions have to be researched a little but one sees a trend of country verses city. Developed like the North in the Civil war verses farmers and rural. We also see some young verses old. Doesn’t it seem that some element of religion was involved, pretty sure that our Revolutionary war had an element of Religious Freedom and conflict with Spanish had some of that. And we saw a great deal of conflict between Liberals and Conservatives which brings us right up to the late Sixties of the last century and beyond.

Let us be real clear here. Hating or dividing because someone is of a different party or for a different candidate or official is bigotry. You may be justified in baby hate against that individual but even disliking someone who supports that person or group is bigotry at its finest – or worst. I hate you because you have different priorities or beliefs is a sad thing for that hater.

I never ever heard this to mean that we did not share and need to share.

Really does my opinion mean yours is wrong?

Or does your opinion mean mine is wrong?
Or does your opinion mean mine is wrong? | Source

Can't we have differences without a divide?

We get to Vietnam. Wow was that a divisive non-declared war. It used the draft and that was way wrong. It really found TV or TV found that. It brought hell into living rooms. And that hell seemingly created a hate, either of the enemy or the establishment. There was almost no ambivalence. Some of us were joining up if we could get into academies in order to avoid being a dead grunt via the draft and much limited training. Officers have a much better life span in war. Yet we hated the war. Folks who had the babies that went to that war were very conflicted. We were very divided. Kent State.

Around this same time within just a couple of years. JFK, RFK and Dr., Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were taken from us by almost terrorists American assassins. At that time with the height of the Cold War, much different from today there were charges of conspiracies with the Russians. Some folks it would appear want to go back to that scary nuclear option environment today. Which is strange because the same base of belief that wants to cease communications with the Russians today would be yelling “make peace not war” just a few decades ago. I was there and chanted it. So that is a very strange development of division. Which seems loud but really it is cosmetic. And of course the reverse is equally crazy the same folks who decades ago would support a war are hollering for working with the Russians.

Let me confess. I want it all. I want energy independence and environmental protection and I want the money to pay for both. I want more money for schools but I do not want schools to be dictated to by central government. I want more respect and protection for cops in inner cities and I want more respect and protection for the minorities that live there. I really like my Mexican neighbors and their children who are friends with my child and I want a secure border and criminals deported. I really like my healthcare but I pay way too much for it. I want an 85mph speed limit, but I cuss the guys that drive that fast when my family is in the car with me. Heck I love my family but I wish they would see things my way in all manner of society, politics and beliefs. But then that might change our dynamic which is loving.

Friend state your case.

But please do not hate me for mine.

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      A well written article, Eric, and it would be very hard to argue against your point of view. We should be able to have different opinions and d discuss them through healthy debate without anger and resentment. I often hear people use the phrase, "Well, it is a free country!" Well, is it? Sometimes I wonder. Thanks for the US history lesson too :)

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 7 weeks ago from Arizona

      "America was fully divided in that time." - I guess that depends on what area you are talking about. Coast to coast I assume you are referring to. Depicting 'stone age people' rather than civilized.

      What about the Iroquois Confederacy of 6 nations? Those who support the theory that the First Peoples influenced the drafting of the founding documents point to the words of founders such as Benjamin Franklin, who in 1751 wrote to his printer colleague James Parker that “It would be a strange thing if Six Nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a scheme for such an union, and be able to execute it in such a manner as that it has subsisted ages and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies.”

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John thank you for this comment. I for one still love those with opposing views. And sometimes I just have to sit down holding their hands and say that above all I love you. And that still does not work if they are filled with hate. Hate is not the opposite of love, apathy but hate prevents love.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh for sure Ptosis. The Eastern Indians sided with settlers in many instances. Get to the Dakotas and the other 95% of the US and it is different. Kind of funny as us South westerner's would much sooner deal with a Mexican than a New Yorker. We talk Spanglish much of the time and a guy from the Bronx speaks a totally different cultural and linguistic language. We talk like Dan Rather and they talk like who knows who. We talk a little and they talk a whole lot. I understand the true Seminole is talkative too and the Hopi and Navajo do not.

      If California, and Oregon were not so liberal who knows about the west. But most assuredly know that a born rural westerner has almost nothing in common with a fella from Boston. Yet we have everything in common if he is a non-union laborer with 3 kids.

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 7 weeks ago from Arizona

      I can't understand Bronx neither. I'm from NY state.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Isn't that funny Ptosis. In Vermont I sometime needed a repeat of what was said. And what about Louisianan?

      I surely do love diversity- maybe I should that is different than a political division.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I am so weary of the divisive rhetoric on social media, painting entire groups as stupid or evil or anti-American, simply because they don't agree with your way of thinking, or Bob's way of thinking, or those worthless Liberals, or the gun-totin' anti-Christ Conservatives.....I no longer take part in any of it. It's not worth my time, Eric. I spend my days being respectful of others and trying to help others. I figure that's a bit more constructive.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Maybe I should go and check out social media again. It left me so sad last time I do not check up on much anymore. I wrote this from memory of about 3 weeks ago plus some actual reading of what has been said by the actual people and not media. A strange world Bill.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 7 weeks ago from Washington DC

      So well stated how can this nation be called "United" in any form? Only when we realize she is MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT..." do we see why it contains the name United States, it is just that everything going on in this nation, from diet to war is nothing more than babbling words opposing to their meanings.

      Thanks, Eric, for that bit of actual history, as limited as it was it really shows the truth of what the USA really is.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, if only we could just agree to disagree and then get on with our lives. Is being kind to one another really that difficult (never mind, that's a rhetorical question)?

      There was a time in our nation's history that the members of congress had disagreements, but at the end of the day they were still civil to one another and recognized each other as a band of brothers working together for the common good. That seems to have disappeared--now there is so much anger an animosity and nothing gets done {sigh}.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 7 weeks ago from Escondido, CA

      I kinda' giggled and also gave a nod of the head with the last paragraph. I giggled because I thought biblically the first social / political divides were God, Adam, Eve, and Satan? Too much for my mind at this time.

      I think your last paragraph is prophetic in its own right. It is food for much wandering pondering. The bottom line is choosing between this or that can be a quandry at times. Sometimes it is solved with a toss of a coin, weighing pros and cons, and exercising trust.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      They had this notion of Manifest Destiny back a while regarding expansion.

      It seems we are once again on a destiny track of social import. Thanks Elijah

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda I think the biggest change is that it is now acceptable to claim victim status and there is a game afoot to see just who can be more upset.

      I think that our Washington reps are really much more thick skinned than this constant crisis mode drama they engage in for votes.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tim by years of adversarial work it is just ingrained in me to "win" arguments. I still like to go there for sport.

      But in my heart, while not being a fatalist, I do believe that whatever comes to pass is part of God's will and design.

      I like the current climate change discourse. I do not know a single person who does not believe we should at the very least make reasonable efforts to reduce our impact on the wonderful earth. How we do that needs to be constantly discussed and adjusted accordingly.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 7 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well said, my friend. UInfortunately, as there are people, there will no doubt be divides. And there's no doubt our nation is still divided after these many centuries.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks for dropping in William. I hear shouting of "the greatest divide" and to me it is small comparatively but extremely loud.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      While reading this, I thought of all the unrest I've witnessed during my time on this earth, and I must admit very few times were peaceful. Looking back, as you did, tells a story of strife and greediness. The unrest we're seeing now is more of the same, just different tactics. I was very disappointed when Trump won the presidency, but I do not hate anyone who voted for him. ( My son included ) That's why America is the greatest place in the world, free will and speech. This was a great history lesson!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, for some reason you made me look back with fondness at the times I was so sure. I was privileged enough to march regarding Vietnam and Civil Rights and in solidarity with my Navajo friends against a coal mine. And just by happenstance I marched in Paris against Franco in Spain. Wow, we were so passionate. Fun to think about and I have a reunion coming up. Hmm.

      Man I love America!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Enjoyed this one, there's nothing wrong with the wanting of all those things, maybe if we all 'pitch in' not just the USA but all of us can have a 'slice of the pie'

      Or you can do what NZ does and hold the elections when a major sports event is on, that way everyone cheers the national team and don't really worry too much what the politicians say!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 27 hours ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence I love that analogy. I was just thinking about the most winning team practicing harder and harder. Doing well does not mean we don't try to do better/

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