Friday, June 21, 2019

We have nothing in common anymore

   Why can’t we all just get along? ‘Cause we have nothing in common anymore.

   Political divisiveness and partisan conflict is nothing new. It’s been around for, well, forever. So even if it seems like the polarization is worse than ever, it only seems that way now. Wait til next year. And the year after that. And the year after….

   What has become unique about our current diversity of opinion is that we can’t even agree to disagree anymore. Used to be, political opponents in government could strongly disagree on major party differences, yet still be able find a way to communicate, meet, discuss, and find a compromise suitable enough for bipartisan support and passage. That’s how the roads get built, the country defended and the laws enforced.  At least until now.

   Now the line between the parties is no longer just a mark in the dirt defining “us and them” politically.  They’re now extremely stubborn and uncooperative bastions that allow for no quarter, no matter how common the interest.  If one party says the sky is blue, then the other party is unable to agree — whether it’s blue or not — because that opposing party is made up of racists, or bigots, or communists, or socialists, or Nazis, or baby-killers, or, well, you get the idea. Any admission that someone from the opposing side may have a point that might be of mutual benefit or concern, and the fingers are quickly pointed, memes are shared ad nauseam, boycotts begun, or demands of termination of employment follow. And if not, news and social media will make sure to stir the pot and get it going. 

   Until this zero-sum environment that envelopes just about everything changes, we’ll be stuck in self-inflicted stagnation and ultimate decomposition forever.  Without acknowledging that we have something in common, we’ll never be able to reach any common ground.

   But then, I’m sure you probably disagree. 

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