I am upset that we are so polarized as a nation. We can never move forward if half of us are pulling to the right and half pulling to the left. So I’ve been pondering, and these are my thoughts.
1. We have polarizers who make a living whipping people into a frenzy. We’ve always had them, but in the olden days they were interested in religion. Now, with western religions being about tolerance, the polarizers have moved to politics. Rush Limbaugh is the Biggest Kahuna on the polarizer list, bringing in $50 mil a year. I don’t know Bill Maher’s salary, but he’s not standing in any unemployment lines.
2. Population density. If we lived in the wide open spaces, it’d easy to live and let live, but when we are jammed together in big cities, people annoy us. Kids with booming bass blasting from their cars annoy and frighten oldsters. Poor people standing at the bus stop have to see privileged people swan past in their luxury cars. We rub up against each other too much. When there are too many rats in the cage, they get petty, even if they are getting enough to eat. Ratchet down the rations and they get vicious.
3. We’re in the down phase of a business cycle and we have to have a scapegoat. So we are like the underfed, over- crowded rats. We’re getting vicious. Sure, sometimes there are real villains (see: Enron), but sometimes, it is just the business cycle. Busts follow booms, just as May flowers follow April showers. The only problem is that this recession has lasted a very, very long time. The right has their scapegoat: Obama, the left has theirs: Geo. W. Bush. Democrats tax and spend (on social programs) while Republicans charge and spend (on a war of choice). Either way, the piper wants his money. There is no free piper. We all overspent: right, left and indifferent.
4. It’s always easier to blame the other guy. If you can’t get a good job, it must be the illegals taking away your job. Fact is, many employers are begging for workers, but people don’t want to get their hands dirty, especially if they have a college degree. I know the owner of a landscape company in Maine. He’s desperate for employees, especially in the summer. But high school and college kids don’t want to actually do physical work that sends them home in need of a shower, meal and a good night’s sleep. If they start the job, they wash out, in part because work interferes with partying. Seems we’ve grown a generation allergic to work and who then whine that there are no jobs.
5. Some people have too much time on their hands. These people are often the single-issue polarizers who do not see they have to integrate their agenda into the national agenda. No matter what the cause, it is the ONLY thing they care about. They do not understand the word “compromise.” One pundit sums up his disdain for the single issue ranters: Nuke the gay whales for Jesus.
6. The Big Lie. People will believe all sorts of nonsense if you pass it around enough. The latest kerfuffle was that Obama was not native-born, My dad taught me that if you tell a big enough lie long enough, people will start to agree with you. Hitler’s view of Jews was internally inconsistent: they were sub-human, but they were so wily as bankers and businessmen, they ruled the world and were the cause of all Germany’s post WWI problems. By the time the German people wised up to Hitler, the damage was done. (Did you know that widespread laws in Europe preventing Jews from owning farms pushed them into being bankers, businessmen and doctors in the first place?)
We all need to be Americans first, with right and left “equally yoked” to the cause of marching this country forward. It will require a few people to shut up and compromise, but if we are ever to get out of the ditch we are in, we have got to put that first. Then, when we are more financially stable, we can come back to the plight of the gay whales for Jesus.