And Continue To Stand Divided

 We have met the enemy and he is us.  Pogo

American democracy is “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. And we the people are the enemy of a united America today. It is interesting that the Pogo quote is over 50 years old. This shows that this is not a new issue. A dictionary definition of divided describes America today. Divided: Being in a state of disagreement or disunity; Moved by conflicting interests, emotions, or activities. And I would add, beliefs and behaviors.

We have a country of conflicting beliefs and behaviors. And maybe we always have and always will. American democracy was originally divided into to two political parties; a two part tribal system. Tribalism defined: A strong feeling of identity with and loyalty to one’s tribe or group. Andrew Sullivan explained how this makes decision making easy: All you need to know on any given subject is which side you’re on.Much is being written about tribalism today. Myside bias prevails.    

Long Division: How and why we stand divided

  • A two party system of competing tribes.
  • Red and Blue states. Right and left politics.
  • Democrats represent a majority of America’s voters but Republicans dominate geographically.
  • Fear and loathing as powerful campaign tools.
  • Identity politics continues.
  • The suppression of minority voting rights.
  • White supremacy. Gender bias.
  • Deal-making, working with the other side, does not exist.
  • A divided country of ideological ghettos(Orin Hatch).
  • Liberal and conservative voters. Liberal and conservative judges.
  • A crude sort of nationalism or ethnic identity that is built around us and them(Barack Obama).

You can probably add to the list. To overcome being divided, we need to become inclusive, interconnected, united. This is where we need a collective worldview that is open-minded and inclusive. That has been a goal of all my writing. I wonder now if tribalism eliminates open-mindedness and inclusiveness. Science has been telling us: Everything is interconnected to everything in an unbroken wholeness. Doesn’t that mean that us and them are interconnected? We the people are not interconnected.

I have met the enemy and it is tribalism.  Jon Udell

Here is my tentative conclusion (with some positive uncertainty). Today’s divided   America is not new; it is an expansion of past divided America. America was divided in the beginning and will be divided in the future. America is still the country I love. I just don’t think we should pretend the United States of America is united.




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2 Responses to DIVIDED WE STAND

  1. Beth Lyon says:

    We all should read American Dialogue by Joseph Ellis

  2. Marianne Fontana says:

    When we have a President that is not divisive, the country seems to be less divided. However, I think our country has always been divided, as you say into tribes. The dislike of tribe to tribe is less obvious when our leader seems respectful of the tribes. The actions of George W’s were very disliked by those of us in “our” tribe,but there was less hatred toward one another shown. W was not a hateful acting man nor did he show hate and anger toward those who opposed him. Now that Trump has unleashed such hatred to those not like him or those who oppose him, it seems to have opened the door to the festering hatred of tribes against one another. I was so distraught over W’s war and other things, but I don’t remember thinking of it as, “he is a Republican so I disagree with all Republicans” as I find myself thinking now. Just as in a company when the CEO is disrespectful to employees, the employees begin being disrespectful for one another.
    I hope I live long enough and am still able to think, when historians begin to analyze these last 3 years to look at what is happening in the big picture.

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