One Nation, Divided

Today, after months of intense fighting and spending close to four billions dollars on campaigns, Americans are headed to the polls. If the pundits are right, Republicans will take control of the House, make some gains in the Senate, and come out victorious in more than a few gubernatorial contests as well. History shows that it isn't unusual for the majority party to lose seats in a midterm election, so in some respects, this election is not all that remarkable.

What is remarkable is the level of hostility, fury, and invective shown by both sides over the last few months. Remarkably, the right is incensed over what they perceive to be President Obama's and the Democrat's overreaching, left-wing agenda, while the left is angry that the President has failed to fulfill many of his basic campaign promises. Both sides are increasingly impatient at the slow pace of economic recovery, and this national angst has led to an animosity that borders on truly disturbing.

Particularly frustrating is the tactic used by some that claims, unless you agree and vote with us, you are somehow less than patriotic and less than American. Particularly troubling is a series of radio ads from the right-wing Faith and Freedom Coalition, the group started by Christian-right leader Ralph Reed (listen to the Nevada targeted one here). The opening line neatly sums up the tone of this entire election season: It's us versus them. If you don't agree with us, you're wrong, undeserving of respect, and should be held in contempt. This meme is not exclusive to either side, of course, but it's repugnant. It stifles debate, destroys creativity, and is ultimately harmful to our noble democratic project.

So today, help put a stop to this sort of politicking, and vote. Support candidates who value dialogue and conversation, who seek to promote human dignity and justice. Add your voice, however meek you may think it is, to the national dialogue. On election day, as counter intuitive as it may seem, we should dispel the notion that there is an us-them dichotomy, and instead unify around our right to vote, to choose our leaders, and to have a voice.

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7 years 5 months ago
I find it quite easy to have a fun time with people you do not agree with politically.  You do not discuss politics.  Politics has replaced religion as the topic you do not discuss.  I just returned from a reunion and the person I spent the most time with at the reunion was someone who had complete opposite views politically from mine.  How do I know that.  It did not come out of our conversations.  One of my other class mates told me he was considered the most liberal member of our class at the reunion but yet we spent a couple hours total talking with each other.  And this 10 days before today's election.
We were both Naval Officers, both in business and both thoroughly enjoyed the weekend with our classmates.  At the dinner for our class, one of our classmates decided to have some fun and asked us to assemble based on our political orientation for a class photo.  My friend was on the other end from me and right behind him was a retired Navy captain of a nuclear submarine.  There is no way I am going to question the patriotism of either.
There was another classmate that I spent a half hour talking with that is very liberal and has spent most of his recent years helping teachers of minorities in public schools.  He commanded a very high salary in business before changing careers.  He was in our wedding party and we have known for years that we differ politically.  But it was interesting to see what he had accomplished.  How could you not be interested in how one is trying to solve the education problem with the poor.
The difference I find with liberals is mostly not with objectives, though some of those are obviously different, but in how to accomplish them.  There is a big difference in wishing something were so, ordering it by fiat and then making it happen.  Very often on this site that is where the differences are, not in the final objectives.
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 5 months ago
Well the results are in and they are as expected.  The overwhelming flow of cash into the anti-Democrat ads was an immediate result of the recent Supreme Court decision.  I always voted against the candidate who had the most ads supporting him.  They promise change but that's a joke.  The only change will be getting the same old stuff, only more of it. 


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