February 4, 2010

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Division. What comes to mind when you think of that? Brown vs. Board of Education? Well that is more segregation than division but I believe the two are closely related. In today’s world I think of politics when I hear the word division. Why? Because we are so divided today that I have trouble believing it. On a positive note it isn’t just Democrats vs. Republicans. However, closely aligned to that is still primarily Liberals/Progressives vs. Conservatives.

There is no denying that our Country became more divided as President Clinton’s problems grew. For those old enough to have been interested in politics there was the investigation into his land deals (Whitewater) and of course the Monica Lewinsky scandal. My favorite quote occurred during his grand jury testimony over the Lewinsky scandal (aka Zippergate). Clinton answers a question, “It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’ is.”

Then George W Bush came into office. Two jets crashed into the towers changed our country forever on 9/11/2001. We seemed to unify on 9/12/2001 but we quickly divided again. On 9/12 it seemed that traditional U.S. values and security of our country came to the forefront for most people. However, that didn’t last and the mudslinging we saw during the Clinton era surfaced again. That lasted through the entire eight years of his presidency.

A small fraction of the population really went over the edge and began to speculate that 9/12 was an inside job; meaning that the September 11th terrorist attack was planned and executed by the government. They call themselves “9/11 truthers” and I can’t think of many subjects that will incite fury in more common people than that. I’m just a layperson when it comes to using drugs, but in my opinion these individuals are certified crack users. (More division!)

In 2010, we see an even greater division than we have seen in the last 15 years. The hope and change being proposed today in Washington is certainly controversial. Most of it is supported by Liberals and opposed by Conservatives. Moderates (true moderates, not liberals masquerading as moderates like my wife’s step-dad) seem to swing either way depending on the topic. However, as the Obama Administration moves forward with more change, we’re seeing and hearing from moderates that they are leaning more conservative. Think of the issues: healthcare, tax increases, bailouts, closing of Guantanamo Bay, etc. Definite division.

For eight years we listened to liberals criticize George W Bush. Today if I criticize Barack Obama, it doesn’t matter if it’s related to his stance on a political matter. It doesn’t matter if I oppose the healthcare changes, rising taxes, TARP and the handling of the TARP repayments. Suddenly if I disagree with Obama, I’m a racist, I’m a bigot and I’m the bad guy. Liberals imposing this sort of double standard creates more division.

I heard yesterday on the radio a story about Rahm Emanuel and his statement regarding a liberal group’s ad campaign regarding Obama’s healthcare overhaul. Emanuel’s comment was simply, “Fu**ing Retarded”. When I think of division, this is a big one. He alienated the democratic group that was sponsoring the ad, he alienated individuals with developmental disabilities and their families/friends, and he alienated people that just don’t take kindly to the degradation of a class of citizens like that.

How about March 2009 when President Obama appeared on the Jay Leno show. BO told Jay that he had bowled a 129. After Jay complimenting him on his bowling score, the president laughingly says, “It’s like the Special Olympics or something.” More alienation, more degradation and yet more division.

I’m probably dreaming, but I envision a day when we can be a more united country. A country that lives like it is 9/12 again. I would be a fool to think that we would ever agree on everything. I would still like to see at least one (significant) area where we could agree—as a country.

Right now, we’re seeing more division than I can ever remember. I was a young boy when Jimmy Carter served in office. However, I still remember the talk about him around our house and those of our friends/family. That was a divisive time period, but I still can’t believe it was near what we see today. I hope and pray that in the next few years we unite as a country and move forward with truly positive change to get us back on the right track.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kosmo
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 08:58:18

    A few random thoughts:

    1) The folks who thing the government was behind the 9/11 attacks are off their meds. Seriously, the government would kill thousands of civilians just to justify a war? Sorry, not buying that.

    2) I’m not also buying the argument that those who disagree with Obama are automatically racist. Certainly there are racists who use this as a reason to disagree with his policies – but there are far more people who disagree with him simply because they disagree with his politics. Attach the same policies to a white politician, and I’m sure that you (Squeaky) would still oppose them. Race (or gender, sexual orientation, etc) is a really dumb reason to oppose (or support) a politician’s views. Judge the views on their own merits.

    3) Personally, I feel that a two party system breeds division. I think we’d see far more cooperation if there were, say, 7 strong parties, each controlling about 15% of congress. I think you’d see shifting alliances based on issues, as parties that had opposing views on abortion might be have similar views on environmental issues. Alas, there probably still wouldn’t be a single party that came close to accurately representing my diverse views 🙂


  2. Martin Kelly
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 09:40:18

    I agree with the meat of Cosmo’s comments, except for #3, the idea that several strong parties would solve our problems. All you have to do is look at the various European contries to see the mess that system provides.

    Division does not come from the system, it comes from individuals already holding office declaring “My way or no way”. Both parties have been guilty of this attitude. It has been better and worse through the years, but the attacks on Clinton (deserved or not), George W. Bush (again, deserved or not) and now Obama are the worst I have witnessed in my forty some years. With Clinton, it was a couple of shots per year. With Bush it escellated to every month, then every week to what we have today with Obama being slammed almost every day. I do not believe that any politician deserved the 24 hour news cycle we now have (on 5 stations at least).

    There are some people rejecting every idea that the president has based on his party, this is bad. Ideas should be brought up, discussed and civilly debated. If we as a people do not want some policy, it should not be enacted, but we should also not stoop to miligning everything about the proposer of the idea.

    The Rohm Emanuel comment is really slimy, but just a few years ago, the chief of staff would not have been on TV ten to twelve times a week to have everything he said recorded, anaylized and rebroadcast over and over.


  3. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 12:45:05

    first off some points I certainly agree with in your article. Rahm Emanuel is offensive, those who think that the Government was behind 9/11 are insane.

    However there are plenty of offensive and slimy dirtbags on the conservative side of the spectrum as well as many more nutcases that should be institutionalized on that side of the spectrum as well.

    Also the time we actually came together after 9/11 was squdered by conservatives by dragging us into a war that had absolutley nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11 as well as creating an atmosphere that you must be for everything the administration says in does or you are label as unAmerican, unpatirotic, etc.

    Your article though is exactly the reason things are divided and things do not get done. It’s conservatives way or the highway, there is no compromising with your side, and actually even when it is something that historically is an issue of yours, because a “liberal” President is proposing them you are suddenly against them. Also your article seems to lay the sole reason for division today as being caused by liberals, there is plenty of reason for divisiveness on every side of the spectrum, but if you want might want to look in the mirror and see why things are divisive as well.


  4. Martin Kelly
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 12:55:42

    Squirrel, you are right about it being on both sides, but you can’t blame the conservatives for the problems of the last year (getting the President’s agenda completed). The liberals had super majorities in both houses until last month. The conservatives could scream no as much as they wanted, but their numbers were too small to affect anything.

    This whole 60 vote thing in the Senate is a legacy of when the liberals were in the minority. Both sides have to remember, that anything they do today will come back to haunt them in the future. (i.e. the impeachment process that was developed to get Nixon was written at least parcially by Hillary Clinton, and it was used against Clinton when he was under fire.)

    We need to all step back, calm down and reduce the victriol. It serves no purpose to declare someone unpatriotic, unconsionalbe, unamerican, etc. That does not mean that when you disagree, you can’t say you disagree, just be polite about it.


  5. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 14:05:24

    well this may be news to you but there were never 60 votes for any piece of legisltion from the Democrats.

    There however were 40 votes against almost anything, so just one democrat not voting the same way which would have happened in most instances, especially when one “Democrat” Lieberman sides with the Republicans more these days especially on any issue that gets media attention. That vote alone lost loses a 60th vote.

    As for now with 41 Republicans in the Senate. I’d say there are probably about 45 votes that are a lock, 5 that are almost a certainty, 8 that are going to be the quesiton marks, and then Lieberman’s vote that if it is a piece of legislation getting media attention than he sides with Republicans these days and if it doesn’t get media attention he sides with democrats. However there are now 41 votes that are a lock for no and not open to debate, so in reality the Republicans are more a part of the problem than the solution as well.


  6. kosmo
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 14:16:06

    Squirrel says: “… there were never 60 votes for any piece of legisltion from the Democrats. ”

    If you want to get very technical, there were never 60 Democrats in the Senate.

    Martin says “… impeachment process that was developed to get Nixon was written at least parcially by Hillary Clinton”

    huh. That’s interesting. I would have guessed she wasn’t old enough for that. Looking at her Wikipedia entry, it’s showing a stint as a congressional legal counsel after graduation from law school in 1973 and before moving to Arkansas in 1974. I wonder how much actual input she had as a brand new lawyer?

    Anyway, interesting trivia that I was not aware of.


  7. Squeaky
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 19:26:11

    The angry squirrel says that my article is the reason for division. He says that there is negotiating with my side (the right).

    “Your article though is exactly the reason things are divided and things do not get done. It’s conservatives way or the highway, there is no compromising with your side…”

    I contend that there is no pointing that stick at the right any more than the wrong…I mean left. When you have Nancy Pelosi saying that she doesn’t care how they do it but they’re going to ram socialized medicine down our throats if they have to walk, run, leap, jump, parachute, poll vault, sky dive or any other method needed to pass it….that my friend is Non-Negotiable.

    You can try to put the blame all on the right, but you’d be way off base. Think of Cap and Trade, offshore drilling, health care, TARP, etc and you’ll see that there is no negotiating with the current administration, house/senate majority and the liberals as-a-whole.

    I couldn’t forget to say that Republicans didn’t drag the country into a war on 9/12. Every Patriot stood up that day for America, for the sanctity of life and for our future. Some however wanted out before the troops were finished. We’re now in the same boat with the Afghan war which Obama has declared to be “his war”.

    A final thought, it would be interesting to see how Kosmo’s idea of several parties worked out. Currently the 3rd party works as a spoiler and not much else. I think it could work with multiple parties, but only if it completely broke up the Republicans and Dems. If one party split and the other didn’t it would just act as another spoiler.

    Some good spirited discussion today boys. I will look forward to this again!



  8. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 05, 2010 @ 03:57:05

    I also enjoyed the spirited discussion today and not to drag it out I won’t rebut anything of your last comment other than to say what i meant in my quick typing of a comment before was that your article’s sentiment of the conservatives way or the highway and all that is wrong is your fault and not ours is what causes division, not that this particular article on Kosmo’s little blog here is the cause for all the division as my quickly written and non proofed comment made it seem.

    Until next time…


  9. Tiberius Kane
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 11:52:06

    The only way a multitude of parties would work is if the divisions were on the means and methods not on the outcome. We don’t live in those times anymore. Our nation no longer works towards the same outcome. Both sides are divisionists, one working to restore a republic and the other to “transform” a repbulic.


  10. kosmo
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 11:59:53

    OK, but if you have a 33/33/33 split (or even 45/45/10, for that matter), two parties might choose to become allies and compromise.

    The Dems might choose to give some concession in an alliance with the Kosmopolitan party out of fear that the Kosmopolitans would instead ally themselves with the Republicans. A compromise that they have a hand in may be much better than a compromise that excludes their input.

    Three parties with equal reprentation simply couldn’t choose utter division if they intended to pass ANY legislation – because they wouldn’t have any power without an ally.


  11. Tiberius Kane
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 20:32:56

    Kosmo, you’re turning me into a believer of a multi-party system. Utter division may be exactly what we need. God knows we’re better off when Congress does nothing.


  12. wuzafuzz
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 19:58:31

    Bring in the Libertarians as a third party. Although their ideas are too extreme in their desire for NO regulation, they could be a good balance for trying to keep big gov’t out of our lives where possible. That’s something neither the Democrats or current Republicans (I didn’t say conservatives) seem interested in.

    Dems and Reps differ in what they want to control, but both parties spend significant effort making others bend to their will. Honestly, I’d rather they spend more time leaving us alone than trying to “fix” us.

    As for Republicans being accused of insisting on my way or the highway: sometimes saying “absolutely not” is the proper answer. Meeting in the middle is reckless when ideas from the other side are so far removed from sanity that compromise still results in the stuff of Socialist’s wet dreams.


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