The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

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  1. GA Anderson profile image91
    GA Andersonposted 13 days ago

    A recommended read. This blurb doesn't tell the story or context of the read, it is just an interest-test. You either are or you aren't

    A Party of Bigots and a Party of Totalitarians

    "Let’s say you’re a progressive. In fact, let’s say you are a progressive gay man in a gay marriage, with two adopted children. The civil rights version of the country is everything to you. Your whole way of life depends on it. How can you back a party or a politician who even wavers on it? Quite likely, your whole moral idea of yourself depends on it, too. You may have marched in gay pride parades carrying signs reading “Stop the Hate,” and you believe that people who opposed the campaign that made possible your way of life, your marriage, and your children, can only have done so for terrible reasons. You are on the side of the glorious marchers of Birmingham, and they are on the side of Bull Connor. To you, the other party is a party of bigots.

    But say you’re a conservative person who goes to church, and your seven-year-old son is being taught about “gender fluidity” in first grade. There is no avenue for you to complain about this. You’ll be called a bigot at the very least. In fact, although you’re not a lawyer, you have a vague sense that you might get fired from your job, or fined, or that something else bad will happen. You also feel that this business has something to do with gay rights. “Sorry,” you ask, “when did I vote for this?” You begin to suspect that taking your voice away from you and taking your vote away from you is the main goal of these rights movements. To you, the other party is a party of totalitarians.

    And that’s our current party system: the bigots versus the totalitarians.


    Read: The Roots of Our Partisan Divide

    Is the author a conservative bigot, or is there merit in his perspective?

    GA

    1. gmwilliams profile image83
      gmwilliamsposted 13 days agoin reply to this

      The author is so succinct in his analysis of present American society & culture.  Authors Neil Howe & William Strauss predicted such a chasm in 21st century American society & culture in the 1990s.  Messgrs. Howe & Strauss indicated that there would be a civil war between the Evangelicals & New Age Liberals in terms of ideology & perspective.   

      There are liberals who strongly assert that anyone who doesn't agree w/them are backward bigots who need to be modernized. They maintain that conservatives want to return America to a time where everyone except for Caucasian males were in their so-called place.  They assert that it is conservatives who want women to be barefoot, pregnant, & voiceless & Blacks to be submissive to Caucasians & LBGTQ people be in the closet-to be generally UNSEEN. 

      Conversely, there are conservatives who are quite aghast at what American society has become.  These same conservatives portend that American society has become a virtual Sodom & Gomorrah. They further view liberals as harbingers of an immoral society.  There are other conservatives who maintain that American values are eroding because of liberals.  They feel that liberals are forcing a Nazi-like lifestyle on other Americans.  There are some like Glenn Beck who assert that liberals are the new Nazis.

      There are more extreme conservatives like Alex Jones who view the liberal state as total totalitarianism where people have little, even no rights.  Michael Savage went further in his radio shows, saying that if liberals had their way, conservatives would be in concentration camps.   Yes, both liberals & conservatives have gotten VERY EXTREME.  In my parents' generation(the World War II or GI generation), liberals & conservatives were....well, less extreme. 

      The political divide in its embryonic stage started in the 1960s.   There were conservatives who viewed the Democratic Party as the harbinger of destruction in American society. They cited the Great Society & the civil rights movement.  During the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, then Mayor Daley called for law and order.   Many conservatives become fearful of how progressive America was becoming so they voted for Richard Nixon.   Of course, liberals hated Nixon & what he represented.  Liberals escalated their fight against Nixon's conservative policies.  Then there was the women's movement which wanted full equality for women & of course, the Gay Liberation movement.   While liberals & progressives applauded such movements, conservatives become increasingly aghast....they wanted America to return to family values.   So in the 1980s, the Republican Party started to become a bit extreme in its ideology.  One can say in the 1980s that Republicanism became synonymous w/conservatism. 

      In 2009, the Democratic Party become more extreme in its ideology.  It publicly supported LBGTQ rights as opposed to the 1990s when it was more covert regarding such rights.  Obama openly espouses more progressive ideas such as LBGTQ rights, government health care, & full equal rights for everyone.   Many Democrats expressed their progressivism unabashedly.  In the 2000s, Democrats became synonymous w/liberalism, if not progressivism.    During the latter part of the 20th century into the early 21st century, both parties are ON OPPOSITE SOCIOPOLITICAL SPECTRUMS of thought & ideologies w/little or no tolerate of those even within the parties who don't conform to the respective sociopolitical line.

      1. Credence2 profile image81
        Credence2posted 13 days agoin reply to this

        "Obama openly espouses more progressive ideas such as LBGTQ rights, government health care, & full equal rights for everyone."

        Seriously, Grace is there really an issue with the concept of full and equal rights for everyone? Who is against that? You are just as "red" as the most conservative of posters here?

        1. gmwilliams profile image83
          gmwilliamsposted 13 days agoin reply to this

          I wasn't stating MY opinion but just an OBJECTIVE, IMPARTIAL response to Gus's post.  He wanted an objective response & that was a response regarding the author's statement regarding the two spectrums of sociopolitical thought.   There is such a thing as an objective analysis, Credence2.  I was just explaining that Obama was the start of extreme progressivism just as Reagan ushered extreme conservatism.  The Republican Party became extreme in the 1980s while the Democratic Party became extreme in the 2000s.  Do you get it now, Credence2?

          I was doing analysis regarding the post.  There is such a thing as an impartial response.....By the way, I am for LBGTQ rights.  I was contrasting that before Obama, many Democrats including Clinton were silent, if not covert, regarding their response to LBGTQ rights.  That is what I was elucidating, thank you.   I was stating how Obama was clearly progressive the way that Reagan was clearly reactionary.

          1. Credence2 profile image81
            Credence2posted 12 days agoin reply to this

            OK, thanks for clarification. I neither trust nor like conservatives and reactionaries a great deal, so I apologize for my bias.

            Only in a rightwingers eye would Obama be seen as representing extreme progressism. The level of extremism assigned to either Reagan or Obama is subjective determination at best.

        2. GA Anderson profile image91
          GA Andersonposted 12 days agoin reply to this

          Hold on there Cred. As a question, did you read the link? I don't think the point of the article disagreed with your " is there really an issue with the concept of full and equal rights for everyone"

          My perception of the article was not that it was anti-those things, but more about making the point about the degrees of division opposing opinions have been relegated to.

          There was no condemnation of acceptance of "progressive ideas such as LBGTQ rights, government health care, & full equal rights for everyone'. The criticism was of the divide formed by the absolute refusal to consider opposing ideologies or even conditional consideration of degrees of acceptance, or resistance.

          I agree with the example in the quoted blurb. The demand for unconditional acceptance of the LBGTQ issue is so absolute that, as the blurb noted, a conservative father doesn't know how to respond to his 7-year-old's questions from a 1st-grade "gender fluidity" question.

          Do you really think that is an equitable situation? Do you think that father should be labeled a bigot for his concerns?

          It seems your response may be a good example of the article's point; a simple questioning of absolute acceptance draws absolute condemnation.

          I think your "red" application is a misplaced knee-jerk response. 'If you ain't with us, you're against us.' Is that your position?

          GA

          1. Credence2 profile image81
            Credence2posted 12 days agoin reply to this

            You ask a no win hypothetical scenario. I am willing to acknowledge various degrees of acceptance and resistance from others. The only thing more important than their acceptance problems are the people who rights are violated because we want to give the laggards time to catch up.

            Yes, many trends today I find uncomfortable as I was raised during an earlier period. But that is the same explanations conservatives always give for discomfort with changes that were needed and have always been long overdue. So, I will err on the side of progressive over conservative in the vast majority of the time.

            But, I wouldn't want to refer to the father as a bigot, but concerned people in the same genre would always have concerns of the secular position in public education. I hear the conservative concerns but accommodating them would be more problematic than acceding to the liberals in my opinion.

      2. GA Anderson profile image91
        GA Andersonposted 12 days agoin reply to this

        Well damn Grace! I see this article hit a chord with you. I am glad you took the time to read it.

        GA

        1. gmwilliams profile image83
          gmwilliamsposted 12 days agoin reply to this

          You are quite welcome.  This article reminds me of what authors William Strauss & Neil Howe stated decades ago in the book, GENERATIONS, THE HISTORY OF AMERICA'S FUTURE, 1584 t9 2069.  They stated the exact same thing.  So I am not surprised at all.  Extreme political chasms are par for the course in 21st century American politics.  There is a gladiatorial level in American politics these days.

      3. Credence2 profile image81
        Credence2posted 12 days agoin reply to this

        "There are liberals who strongly assert that anyone who doesn't agree w/them are backward bigots who need to be modernized. They maintain that conservatives want to return America to a time where everyone except for Caucasian males were in their so-called place.  They assert that it is conservatives who want women to be barefoot, pregnant, & voiceless & Blacks to be submissive to Caucasians & LBGTQ people be in the closet-to be generally UNSEEN."

        That is how I see it, much more so than the contrary.

        "Conversely, there are conservatives who are quite aghast at what American society has become.  These same conservatives portend that American society has become a virtual Sodom & Gomorrah. They further view liberals as harbingers of an immoral society.  There are other conservatives who maintain that American values are eroding because of liberals.  They feel that liberals are forcing a Nazi-like lifestyle on other Americans.  There are some like Glenn Beck who assert that liberals are the new Nazis."

        From the conservative standpoint my desire to sit other than on the back of the bus in itself opened up the threat of an encroaching immoral society. My just rights and privileges are to be restricted and restrained to accommodate their consciences? As that is,  I couldn't care less about their fears and concerns.

    2. hard sun profile image90
      hard sunposted 13 days agoin reply to this

      There are certainly these two extremes, though I think many Americans lie somewhere in between them. Gender fluidity in first grade? I think that's about as ridiculous as the notion of banning gay marriage.

      I truly think if as many Americans truly prescribed to the "live and let live" philosophy they claim to abide by, then we would not be so polarized. Too many people fall into this false dichotomy and end up wanting to tell other people how to live.

      From my viewpoint, you can teach your kid about gender fluidity at home if you so choose. I also have the right to tell you my accomplishments don't have to have an asterisk because of my skin color. I think you should be able to smoke marijuana and have an abortion at the same time. And, you can say you'd rather your kid not be a homosexual without me claiming your a horrific person. The formula, at a societal level, is definitely difficult though.

      1. GA Anderson profile image91
        GA Andersonposted 12 days agoin reply to this

        hard sun, you are making it hard to argue with your perspectives. Which means, since I don't like choir rooms it is getting harder to respond to your comments. ;-)

        The examples in the article were certainly division-prompting issues, but it was the point of the article, as I saw it, that it is the 'sides' extremes and the government's over-reach that are a major source of the division we have witnessed in the last few decades.

        Without addressing individual issues in the article, (Civil Rights, LGBTQ, Feminism, etc.), I think the author nailed it. The 'Theys' are Bigots or Totalitarians—no middle ground allowed.

        GA

        1. hard sun profile image90
          hard sunposted 12 days agoin reply to this

          Yeah. we don't get much from everyone agreeing about everything either.

          I think if we were ever to get more than two parties with legitimate chances on the national stage, we could begin to change these false assumptions. The R's and D's benefit from painting the others as "Theys."   There are bigots and there are totalitarians, just not as many as the two parties want us to think there is.

          What about the people that don't think more gun laws will do much to solve gun violence, but also are pro-choice? Those who respect the woman who chooses to be barefoot and pregnant as much as the one who chooses to climb the corporate ladder?

          I may be preaching to the choir again with you on this GA. However, I think we see that the people who frequently talk about politics on social media and in political forums subscribe wholeheartedly to the "Theys."

          1. GA Anderson profile image91
            GA Andersonposted 12 days agoin reply to this

            Yep. You are preaching to the choir. I agree. Particularly with the point that things don't have to be all or nothing. I would be one of those in your gun control/pro-choice example.

            Folks claim there are no moderates, (of either party), anymore, but I think it is just a case of the loudest voices getting the attention.  We moderates still exist, but there isn't much room for us in modern two-party politics.

            Grace had a good description; Our politics have sunk to the gladiatorial level.

            GA

            1. hard sun profile image90
              hard sunposted 12 days agoin reply to this

              I did enjoy Grace's apt and eloquent description. The only thing I have to add concerns how we define moderate. A Bing search yields this at the top spot: "someone who doesn't hold views on the far edges of the political spectrum."
              Then we have this definition:" to be less extreme, intense, or violent." Or this: "Of medium or average quantity or extent."

              I think when many people think of political moderates, they think of the first definition? It also seems this definition is what takes up most of Grace’s summary.  According to this definition, I don't think I neatly fit into the moderate category, especially when it comes to economics. I'm not sure if supporting things like capping executive salaries based on a percentage of profit is considered moderate. But, I would consider myself moderate on other things.

              What concerns me the most, perhaps besides the entrenchment in ideology that results in the extreme/intense/violent attitudes that makes enemies of all those who don’t come from the same political school of thought, is the way that fellow Americans label each other as though they must follow the party line. This, combined with the fanatical confidence of their party, politician, or school of thought being correct, is dangerous.

              I see that Grace does touch upon this at the end: 
              “During the latter part of the 20th century into the early 21st century, both parties are ON OPPOSITE SOCIOPOLITICAL SPECTRUMS of thought & ideologies w/little or no tolerate of those even within the parties who don't conform to the respective sociopolitical line.”

              I’m firmly moderate if we use this definition. I also think that Diane's percentages are at least a bit closer to being correct if we go by this definition AND if people are allowed/confident enough to be honest. I'd go with 70 percent moderate with 15/15 on the extremes by this definition.

              1. GA Anderson profile image91
                GA Andersonposted 12 days agoin reply to this

                "Of medium or average quantity or extent."

                I would not see this as applicable to the "moderate" of political discussions. And I think your 15/15 is too generous. I still think it is closer to 25/25—leaving a mere 50% of us holding centrist—left or right, views.

                But I certainly agree with the current lack of tolerance—on both sides. That is why I think I am being generous at only 25% as the extremes.

                GA

    3. Credence2 profile image81
      Credence2posted 12 days agoin reply to this

      I did take the time to read the article, thanks... Looking at both sides I am going to lean toward the conservative bigot identification. over any merit in his argument.

      1. GA Anderson profile image91
        GA Andersonposted 12 days agoin reply to this

        Oh well, another testimonial to the Baskin-Robbins business model. ;-)

        GA

    4. dianetrotter profile image67
      dianetrotterposted 12 days agoin reply to this

      I agree with this particular assessment but it is oversimplified. This is one issue. The groups are book ends. The large majority of people are somewhere between the two ends and is categorized as one or the other 99% of the time.

      1. GA Anderson profile image91
        GA Andersonposted 12 days agoin reply to this

        I agree with your point Diane, but not your percentage. I think the "bookends" we agree on are probably up to 50% now. Leaving you and me as only representative of half the country. ;-)

        GA

        1. dianetrotter profile image67
          dianetrotterposted 12 days agoin reply to this

          I'm comfortable where I am! It is unfortunate that we can't have our own beliefs and get along with everyone. The middle tries.

 
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