Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Divided We Stand

Every couple of days, someone tells me, "It's going to be such a relief come January when Obama is president. Finally we'll have someone in the White House we can all come together and respect."

We all have a tendency to assume that most other reasonable people think roughly the same way that we do. And thus, those who believe President Bush to be despicable and embarrassing tend to assume (and going around liberal Austin assume out loud) that all reasonable people agree with them, and that aside for a bunch of low IQ rednecks at a NASCAR rally somewhere in flyover country, everyone will feel united in admiring a future President Obama.

I can sympathize with being desperately eager to see almost anyone in the oval office other than someone for whom you have no respect. I spent much of the Clinton years trying to reign in the more over-the-top excesses of some of my relatives: No, Clinton is not going to invite the UN to invade the US. No, he has not sold Long Beach Harbor to the Chinese. No, he is not going to stage a coup and become dictator.

Even so, I recall watching the coverage when Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and realizing that I disliked Clinton so much and trusted him so little that his speach of condolence sounded like a lie to me -- while Yasser Arafat sounded more genuine. Just hearing Clinton say something made me want to disagree, even if it was something that I essentially agreed with.

For those who find Obama exciting and inspiring -- at least have the objectivity to realize that there is a very significant percentage of the American population who will never agree with you on that, unless Obama changes his positions in such a way that you cease to like him. As a country, we are very, very deeply divided on a number of issues that cut to the very root of what it means to be a human being, what it means to live a moral life, what is the nature of the family, and how society should be organized and administered.

Those divisions are not going away: they are the product of fundamentally differing ideas of how the world and the human person work. A charismatic speaker is not going to make them go away. As a result of our cultural and moral fragmentation over the last 50 years, we are now in a period in history during which at least 30% of the population is pretty much guaranteed to despise any given president, for reasons that cut much deeper than "just politics".

Obama supporters are welcome to think that they have the best candidate, and they are welcome to be eager to win, but please stop telling me that Obama will begin the process of "bringing us all together". Our house is divided, and divided it will remain until one of the halves of the country changes its entire worldview.

8 comments:

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Very well said, as always.

crankycon said...

Right on the money. These political divisions have existed (though obviously not over the same isues) since, oh, 1789. There's a myth that there once existed some golden age where we all just got along - exacerbated by the fable of the "era of good feelings." Americans have always been divided over key issues, as we should be if we're principled. Perhaps the vitriol is more excessive than it was at the beginning, though some of those pamphlets published during the election of 1800 would make a thread on Daily Kos seem tame.

I do hope that conservatives can keep their heads about them if Obama is elected. I'm sure he will do much to outrage us, but I hope we can be more rational in our disputes than the "Bush=Hitler" or "Bush is a war criminal" crowd. I don't want to go to Borders in 2010 and see an entire table of books dedicated to calling Obama the most evil man who has ever lived. We don't need another outbreak of BDS, this time with the B standing for Barack instead of Bush.

Jay Anderson said...

Great post, Darwin!

And of the 2 major party candidates running for President - the one with an actual track record of appealing to those on the other side of the aisle and the one who is the dream candidate of the left, I'd say that the latter (i.e. Obama) is likely to be the MORE divisive.

Jennifer F. said...

Very well said. I can't believe more people don't realize this.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Bringing people together is highly overrated. The most divisive periods in our history, the American Revolution and the Civil War come to mind, have often been those periods in retrospect when great issues were confronted and dealt with. The American people are usually united only after some disaster like Pearl Harbor and 9-11and usually only briefly. Even during WW2 in 1944, 45.9% of the American voters wanted to give FDR a boot. This type of division, when given vent to in peaceful elections, does not strike me as a weakness in our country.

Ben said...

Well said!

TJR said...

<<<<<< Crankycons said>>>>>>>
I don't want to go to Borders in 2010 and see an entire table of books dedicated to calling Obama the most evil man who has ever lived. We don't need another outbreak of BDS, this time with the B standing for Barack instead of Bush.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I am glad to hear you say this and applaud you for it.

But sadly, (If Obama is elected) I am sure that we will see exactly this.

I can clearly remember how "certain" conservatives reacted during Bill Clinton's presidency.

"Bill Clinton - Dictator".

"Bill Clinton - Most evil man in America".

"Impeach Clinton and that wimp she's married to".

I remember the worst of them being one that someone posted on his front lawn as a giant home made billboard (I remember driving past it while I was on the road and it was huge).

It read:

"Send the Clintons back home....In body bags".

Yes. It actually advocated and advertised his assassination.

If Obama get's elected, It wouldn't surprise me if Ann Coulter published a book entitled "Why an Obama assassination would be a good thing"

Of course she'd say the title was just a joke.

NeoConstant said...

Excellent post, and something that's been bugging me for ages. All I hear everywhere are these people who think somehow Obama will unite the country--they fall for his "There is no Conservative America, there is no Liberal America, there is just America" baloney.

Actually, there are probably far more than two Americas. And not all of them agree with the Leftist policies that Obama preaches. I personally rather like Obama as a person, I just don't think he'd be a very good President.