IS AMERICA BECOMING DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CNN opinion by David Gergen

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Sep 28, 2011 5:33 PM GMT
    David Gergen has been involved in government and around government for years. I used to enjoy watching him and Mark Shields on the old McNeil/Lehrer News Hour on PBS. He is a moderate republican, but has served Presidents from both parties. I certainly have come to respect his opinion on a variety of issues.

    This is currently on CNN and found it a very interesting read.


    CNN Editor's note: This is one of a series of CNN Opinion articles on the question: "Why is our government so broken?" David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has been an adviser to four presidents. He is a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Follow him on Twitter: @David_Gergen. Michael Zuckerman, who graduated from Harvard College in 2010, is David Gergen's assistant.

    Cambridge, Massachusetts (CNN) -- When trouble strikes in our personal lives and we are searching for a source, it usually makes sense to take a look in a familiar place -- the mirror. And so it should be in our troubled politics today.

    Many of us are deeply angry at politicians in Washington and the broken government they have created. We tend to look down upon them as jackasses and ideologues who are incapable of organizing a two-car funeral. We blame special interests for capturing them, a 24/7 media for encouraging them, and power for corrupting them. Indeed, a list of reasons for broken government could -- and will -- fill a week of columns.

    But perhaps we give too little attention to the basic notion that our politicians are also a reflection of the public they represent. As the old saying goes, we get the president we deserve -- and usually the Congress, too. In truth, our fractured politics are due in no small part to a fractured country -- one in which consensus and moderation are disappearing. With apologies to President Truman: the buck stops here.


    David GergenThose of us who are older -- born somewhere close to midcentury -- grew up in an America where there was a general consensus that the United States was a great nation, that you could be a success if you worked hard and played by the rules, that government had a positive role to play when trouble hit, and that politics must stop at the water's edge as we united against dangerous enemies. But with Vietnam, the tumult of the '60s and '70s, Watergate and more, our sense of common purpose began collapsing.

    Listen for a moment to three of the smartest observers in the country who have weighed in this week on the collapse. In this week's New York Magazine, columnist Frank Rich argues that by the late 1960s, "the bipartisan national consensus over the central role of government -- which had held firm through the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations -- was kaput. The Reagan revolution was in the wings."

    We also began to lose faith in ourselves and our values. In an interview with the Financial Times early this week, Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School chimed in with pained observations about what is happening to American competitiveness: "This is shocking for the U.S. If you go back 100 years, you find that the U.S. was a huge pioneer in public education. ... The U.S. was a real pioneer in creating a national, very deep university system. ... The U.S. was a pioneer in the interstate highway system. ... We stepped to the plate in the past and made very, very bold investments in the fundamental environment for competitiveness. But right now, we can't seem to agree on any of these things."

    Or listen to William Galston, who was instrumental in helping President Clinton bridge the divides in politics. In the New Republic, he argues that the middle is shrinking in politics. In 1992, he points out, Gallup found that 43% of respondents identified themselves as moderates, 37% as conservatives, and 17% as liberals. In 2009, conservatives and liberals were each up 4% and moderates were down by 7%.



    Granderson: Broken gov't? Blame voters

    How to fix a broken government

    David Frum: Why is government so broken? Similarly, a study of national election data by Alan Abramovitz found that in 1984, some 41% identified themselves at the midpoint of an ideological scale versus 10% who placed themselves at liberal or conservative extremes. By 2005, the number who identified themselves at the center had dropped to only 28%, while the number at the endpoints had risen to 23%.

    We continue to hear that even so, independents have the whip hand in electoral politics and we tend to assume that they are middling in their views, open to argument, and rather homogeneous. But even these assumptions seem doubtful. Frank Rich, for example, highlights a recent Pew survey that suggests that nearly half of independents are actually Democrats (21%) or Republicans (26%) who just shy away from the label, while another 20% are more populist, skeptical Democrats ("Doubting Dems"), 16% are "disaffected" voters with a highly negative view of government, and 17% are "disengaged" altogether. Not exactly a portrait of moderate unity.

    Surely there are many sources of the fractures in today's electorate, just as there are many social scientists more qualified to take a crack at explaining them. But one potential contributing factor comes from a fascinating piece in National Affairs by Marc Dunkelman, who fears the winnowing out of so-called "middle-tier relationships" for the American citizen.

    These relationships have long been, as Dunkelman puts it, "at the root of American community life," and encompass such different-minded acquaintances as "bridge partners, brothers in the Elks club, fellow members of the PTA." But these connections have withered in recent years, even as we stay close to those like-minded folks who inhabit our inner circles of friends and family, and are connected on an unprecedented scale by technology and social media to those farther away. Without these vibrant, heterogeneous "middle-tier" relationships, Dunkelman argues, it may simply be much harder to build the sense of public trust and unity that allows people to stand up to big challenges together.

    The good news is that, as with any self-inflicted wound, the power is in our hands to change course. And indeed there is a growing sense in the country that people are finally getting tired of this particularly rancid level of divisiveness. There is a generation rising -- singled out in a recent TIME Magazine cover story as "The Next Greatest Generation" -- that, led by its young military veterans, is eager to put aside partisan squabbles to get things done.

    The bipartisan group No Labels recently convened a conference call with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz that they reported drew more than 100,000 participants. And even in Washington itself, Lamar Alexander, a senior Republican senator, recently quit his leadership post so he could devote more time to forging consensus and working across the aisle.

    So there is cause for hope. In the meantime, it is up to us to continue to hold those in the halls of power accountable for results and not just party orthodoxy, and to expose ourselves to people outside our handpicked inner sanctums, ideas and opinions outside our own ideologies, and even news sources different from our favorites (unless you're a regular CNN viewer, of course).

    Politics in this country has always been rough-and-tumble, and so it should be. But as no less a patriot than former Secretary Bob Gates reminded us last Thursday while accepting the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center, "The warning given a long time ago by Benjamin Franklin still applies: 'Either we hang together or we will surely all hang separately." That advice likewise applies as much to our representatives in government as it does to those to whom the founders truly entrusted the reins of power -- us.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19133

    Sep 28, 2011 5:55 PM GMT
    Unfortunately, it will probably take some HUGE event like 9/11 or something else major that affects the entire country for Americans to pull together again. In my lifetime, I don't remember us ever being so sharply divided on so many levels. It's very sad. One of the few silver linings I felt immediately after 9/11 was that you could really feel the country come together.
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    Sep 28, 2011 6:40 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidUnfortunately, it will probably take some HUGE event like 9/11 or something else major that affects the entire country for Americans to pull together again. In my lifetime, I don't remember us ever being so sharply divided on so many levels. It's very sad. One of the few silver linings I felt immediately after 9/11 was that you could really feel the country come together.


    Is a world war every generation or so a good thing in a perverse sort of way? Without those sorts of external serious nation threatening challenges, are we condemned to rot from within?
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:01 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidUnfortunately, it will probably take some HUGE event like 9/11 or something else major that affects the entire country for Americans to pull together again. In my lifetime, I don't remember us ever being so sharply divided on so many levels. It's very sad. One of the few silver linings I felt immediately after 9/11 was that you could really feel the country come together.




    I think that whats being seen is a minority of Christian 'talaban' type fanatics getting all the attention by making demands that everyone think and do as they wish under their 'christian crede', after all,no great difference behind the Talaban insisting their views on the Afghans, than with the Christians doing the same thing here. The only real difference is the Christians don't cut off hands, tungs, noses and heads. (quite a difference !! LOL ) the christian talaban use the tactic of hostage holding on whatever issue they deem their christian duty to uphold. All this attention comes from having the "Chutzpah" to make a scene and being unembarassble for doing so because, they are right, "god is on their side"

    You are right we came together after 911 and it ended up with the Christian Fanatics finding an enemy the Islamists, then turned to a miriad of other polarizing issues to keep up their momentum, whether it be gays, DADT, gay Marriage, or that black man in "our whitehouse". Many are their pushes to legislate morality which the most fanatic actually believe will help the US maintain the 'blessing of god'. Listen to the religious preachers, day after day they are preaching this shit to Millions.

    In my estimation you better hope that we don't have another 911 because you will see the Christian Far Right giving up one freedom after another "to keep us safe", you can bet that as with well documented history, we will lose far more freedoms at the hands of these far right Christian Fanatics,who have changed the whole conversation of the Republican party,than we ever will from what is called the left here in the US.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:07 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    CuriousJockAZ saidUnfortunately, it will probably take some HUGE event like 9/11 or something else major that affects the entire country for Americans to pull together again. In my lifetime, I don't remember us ever being so sharply divided on so many levels. It's very sad. One of the few silver linings I felt immediately after 9/11 was that you could really feel the country come together.




    I think that whats being seen is a minority of Christian 'talaban' type fanatics getting all the attention by making demands that everyone think and do as they wish under their 'christian crede', after all,no great difference behind the Talaban insisting their views on the Afghans, than with the Christians doing the same thing here. The only real difference is the Christians don't cut off hands, tungs, noses and heads. (quite a difference !! LOL ) the christian talaban use the tactic of hostage holding on whatever issue they deem their christian duty to uphold. All this attention comes from having the "Chutzpah" to make a scene and being unembarassble for doing so because, they are right, "god is on their side"

    You are right we came together after 911 and it ended up with the Christian Fanatics finding an enemy the Islamists, then turned to a miriad of other polarizing issues to keep up their momentum, whether it be gays, DADT, gay Marriage, or that black man in "our whitehouse". Many are their pushes to legislate morality which the most fanatic actually believe will help the US maintain the 'blessing of god'. Listen to the religious preachers, day after day they are preaching this shit to Millions.

    In my estimation you better hope that we don't have another 911 because you will see the Christian Far Right giving up one freedom after another "to keep us safe", you can bet that as with well documented history, we will lose far more freedoms at the hands of these far right Christian Fanatics,who have changed the whole conversation of the Republican party,than we ever will from what is called the left here in the US.


    CJAZ, I think I see the problem. It's those "Christian 'talaban' type fanatics" !!!!!!!! You think he could have at least gotten in one "God Damn" in above diatribe

    Btw, its Taliban
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Sep 28, 2011 7:22 PM GMT
    A well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:32 PM GMT
    Lincsbear saidA well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.


    I absolutely agree with the above and frankly RJ is a real good example of this. I'm of course not saying that RJ is the only place this occurs, but it’s as pervasive here as anyplace that I’ve ever read. Very dangerous IMO and will eventually lead to armed conflict.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:33 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    realifedad said
    CuriousJockAZ saidUnfortunately, it will probably take some HUGE event like 9/11 or something else major that affects the entire country for Americans to pull together again. In my lifetime, I don't remember us ever being so sharply divided on so many levels. It's very sad. One of the few silver linings I felt immediately after 9/11 was that you could really feel the country come together.




    I think that whats being seen is a minority of Christian 'talaban' type fanatics getting all the attention by making demands that everyone think and do as they wish under their 'christian crede', after all,no great difference behind the Talaban insisting their views on the Afghans, than with the Christians doing the same thing here. The only real difference is the Christians don't cut off hands, tungs, noses and heads. (quite a difference !! LOL ) the christian talaban use the tactic of hostage holding on whatever issue they deem their christian duty to uphold. All this attention comes from having the "Chutzpah" to make a scene and being unembarassble for doing so because, they are right, "god is on their side"

    You are right we came together after 911 and it ended up with the Christian Fanatics finding an enemy the Islamists, then turned to a miriad of other polarizing issues to keep up their momentum, whether it be gays, DADT, gay Marriage, or that black man in "our whitehouse". Many are their pushes to legislate morality which the most fanatic actually believe will help the US maintain the 'blessing of god'. Listen to the religious preachers, day after day they are preaching this shit to Millions.

    In my estimation you better hope that we don't have another 911 because you will see the Christian Far Right giving up one freedom after another "to keep us safe", you can bet that as with well documented history, we will lose far more freedoms at the hands of these far right Christian Fanatics,who have changed the whole conversation of the Republican party,than we ever will from what is called the left here in the US.


    CJAZ, I think I see the problem. It's those "Christian 'talaban' type fanatics" !!!!!!!! You think he could have at least gotten in one "God Damn" in above diatribe

    Btw, its Taliban





    Here ya go !!!


    If ya have any god damn sense, you'll avoid backing the far right Christian Taliban.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:38 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    freedomisntfree said
    realifedad said
    CuriousJockAZ saidUnfortunately, it will probably take some HUGE event like 9/11 or something else major that affects the entire country for Americans to pull together again. In my lifetime, I don't remember us ever being so sharply divided on so many levels. It's very sad. One of the few silver linings I felt immediately after 9/11 was that you could really feel the country come together.




    I think that whats being seen is a minority of Christian 'talaban' type fanatics getting all the attention by making demands that everyone think and do as they wish under their 'christian crede', after all,no great difference behind the Talaban insisting their views on the Afghans, than with the Christians doing the same thing here. The only real difference is the Christians don't cut off hands, tungs, noses and heads. (quite a difference !! LOL ) the christian talaban use the tactic of hostage holding on whatever issue they deem their christian duty to uphold. All this attention comes from having the "Chutzpah" to make a scene and being unembarassble for doing so because, they are right, "god is on their side"

    You are right we came together after 911 and it ended up with the Christian Fanatics finding an enemy the Islamists, then turned to a miriad of other polarizing issues to keep up their momentum, whether it be gays, DADT, gay Marriage, or that black man in "our whitehouse". Many are their pushes to legislate morality which the most fanatic actually believe will help the US maintain the 'blessing of god'. Listen to the religious preachers, day after day they are preaching this shit to Millions.

    In my estimation you better hope that we don't have another 911 because you will see the Christian Far Right giving up one freedom after another "to keep us safe", you can bet that as with well documented history, we will lose far more freedoms at the hands of these far right Christian Fanatics,who have changed the whole conversation of the Republican party,than we ever will from what is called the left here in the US.


    CJAZ, I think I see the problem. It's those "Christian 'talaban' type fanatics" !!!!!!!! You think he could have at least gotten in one "God Damn" in above diatribe

    Btw, its Taliban





    Here ya go !!!


    If ya have any god damn sense, you'll avoid backing the far right Christian Taliban.


    Much better!!! Congrats. BTW, 'God' is generally capitalized. That's ok, but don't let it happen again.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:41 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    Lincsbear saidA well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.


    I absolutely agree with the above and frankly RJ is a real good example of this. I'm of course not saying that RJ is the only place this occurs, but it’s as pervasive here as anyplace that I’ve ever read. Very dangerous IMO and will eventually lead to armed conflict.




    The statement "the increase in rigid Ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix" ...."realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost." These statements fit right in with what I am saying and usually fits as an admonition against far right christan/TBagger, our way or the Highway, who actually believe that they must bring our country 'back to god', else we won't get the blessing of god for our USA, Its nice to see you agreeing with me on something.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:42 PM GMT
    Lincsbear saidA well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.


    Not saying that he is the only one by any stretch, but Reallifedad is a perfect example of what you’re talking about. Throwing around comments such as “Christian 'talaban' type fanatics” won’t likely promote civil discourse.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:43 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    freedomisntfree said
    Lincsbear saidA well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.


    I absolutely agree with the above and frankly RJ is a real good example of this. I'm of course not saying that RJ is the only place this occurs, but it’s as pervasive here as anyplace that I’ve ever read. Very dangerous IMO and will eventually lead to armed conflict.




    The statement "the increase in rigid Ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix" ...."realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost." These statements fit right in with what I am saying and usually fits as an admonition against far right christan/TBagger, our way or the Highway, who actually believe that they must bring our country 'back to god', else we won't get the blessing of god for our USA, Its nice to see you agreeing with me on something.


    "far right christan/TBagger"

    As I was saying!
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:46 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    freedomisntfree said
    Lincsbear saidA well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.


    I absolutely agree with the above and frankly RJ is a real good example of this. I'm of course not saying that RJ is the only place this occurs, but it’s as pervasive here as anyplace that I’ve ever read. Very dangerous IMO and will eventually lead to armed conflict.




    The statement "the increase in rigid Ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix" ...."realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost." These statements fit right in with what I am saying and usually fits as an admonition against far right christan/TBagger, our way or the Highway, who actually believe that they must bring our country 'back to god', else we won't get the blessing of god for our USA, Its nice to see you agreeing with me on something.


    I don’t take your name calling or your rants that dominate virtually every post of yours the least bit seriously.
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:54 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    Lincsbear saidA well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.


    Not saying that he is the only one by any stretch, but Reallifedad is a perfect example of what you’re talking about. Throwing around comments such as “Christian 'talaban' type fanatics” won’t likely promote civil discourse.





    Well sir, it is not uncivil to note the Obvious, that like the Islamic Talaban in Afghanistan, the far right Christian/TBaggers will use any means (minus of course the beheadings) to get what they see as their god's path into US law. Its a very real and logical comparison, remember the Christian Crusades, maybe I should use the crusades as the comparison, they wanted everyone to see it their way didn't they, would that have been more civil ? either group cut heads off and burned people who didn't see it there way, the point is in every case you have religion at the center of pitting 'our right way' against the 'infadels'. Its doesn't take much thought to remember all the far right Christian wedge issues used to get their way, do you remember some ?
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    Sep 28, 2011 7:56 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    freedomisntfree said
    Lincsbear saidA well put,thought provoking,and timely article.

    Very interesting point by Dunkelman on 'middle-tier relationships' and their decline in American society,how people are increasingly mixing with like minded others in congenial ghettoes,mostly globally/online,where difference is muted and few social skills have to be employed to get on with each other.It seems like internet technology may be accelerating this societal division and polarization,making national political consensus so much harder.

    The increase in rigid ideology and theology is adding to this dangerous mix,again probably aided by the internet.

    I fear this trend will continue and only when something terrible happens will you wake up and realize the dangers of this extremism and seeing the other side as a deadly enemy to be defeated at near any cost.I hope it`s not too late.

    I also fear the UK is heading the same way,we`re just a few years behind you yet.


    Not saying that he is the only one by any stretch, but Reallifedad is a perfect example of what you’re talking about. Throwing around comments such as “Christian 'talaban' type fanatics” won’t likely promote civil discourse.





    Well sir, it is not uncivil to note the Obvious, that like the Islamic Talaban in Afghanistan, the far right Christian/TBaggers will use any means (minus of course the beheadings) to get what they see as their god's path into US law. Its a very real and logical comparison, remember the Christian Crusades, maybe I should use the crusades as the comparison, they wanted everyone to see it their way didn't they, would that have been more civil ? either group cut heads off and burned people who didn't see it there way, the point is in every case you have religion at the center of pitting 'our right way' against the 'infadels'. Its doesn't take much thought to remember all the far right Christian wedge issues used to get their way, do you remember some ?


    "far right Christian/TBaggers " as I was saying.

    Your profanity laced, name calling, hate filled, 10,000 word diatribes do your side, whatever that may be, far more harm than good.
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    Sep 28, 2011 9:35 PM GMT
    I don't know to what degree this impacts the division within the country, but I see groups of people with extremely different ways of looking at the world, having very different belief systems. One group I'll call optimists. They believe in the fundamental ability of the person, and have the belief that if someone tries hard enough, and perseveres, over time they will succeed. Success is not necessarily measured by a degree of wealth, but rather by a satisfaction in life goals having been achieved. They might have failed a number of times, but keep trying until they succeed.

    The other group I'll call pessimists. They are cynical and believe it is impossible to be a success, however that is defined, unless ethical behavior is abandoned. They look to those who have succeeded and consider them either lucky or unethical, or both.

    In life outside of RJ, all my friends are optimists. I don't think it was by an overt design, but I generally associate with those who have similar values. Similarly, my RJ friends, whether they are rich or poor, younger or older, liberal or conservative, all tend to be optimists.

    I have been reading a couple of other threads recently and have been shocked by the number of pessimists. A few are not surprising, with their typical woe-is-me attitude, but there were more. I am hoping they represent only a small percent of both the RJ as well as the total population, but I'm not sure. Maybe the number increased with the bad economy. Maybe the expectation that the next generations will not be as well off as previous generations is sapping their spirit. Maybe they grew up with an entitlement mentality, and find that things not handed to them have left them bitter.

    I have not intended to associate optimism versus pessimism with political positions. I do believe there is some correlation, but I also think there are many exceptions. Generally, I think it is very difficult when people have such different values that there can be agreement on much of anything, and that may be part of the divide.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 28, 2011 11:56 PM GMT
    Is Government broken?
    Right now ... Hell Yeah it's shattered to bits

    and Why? Because you have a party where the new found principle is
    The Less Government the better

    Whereby anything that government does is inherently bad
    How on earth can you HAVE a government where the people running it have a disdain for what they are dong or providing for their constituents?

    Nevermind where the same peole are selling out to the highest bidder ... and don't gove me that crap where the democrats are doing it too
    because we ALL know republicans BY FAR outstretch the democrats when it comes to lobbying dollars
    and who started the 12th Street project?
    and who is in the pocket of the religious right ?

    You wanna fix the Government ... then boot the republicans
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 29, 2011 12:19 AM GMT
    In REAL LIFE I do not feel this GREAT DIVIDE.

    My closest friend is a lifelong Republican.....but he's not in denial that government, especially local government needs his tax money to perform the services he wants.
    My favorite aunt is devoutly Christian and also a lifelong Republican.....but SHE ADORES MICHELLE OBAMA.
    I have plenty of Republican associates who are rational and capable of honest debate about the issues that we care about.

    BUT ONLINE, what a different world! Those representing themselves as Republicans want to project the most obnoxious elements of their Tea Party.
    And that's not just here on RJ. If you read the comments section of Politico.com or RedState.com you'll come to the conclusion that the Republicans are seething with anger and ready to explode in Revolution.

    In Real Life, I don't see the anger. How about you guys?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 29, 2011 12:31 AM GMT
    GQjock saidIs Government broken?
    Right now ... Hell Yeah it's shattered to bits

    and Why? Because you have a party where the new found principle is
    The Less Government the better

    Whereby anything that government does is inherently bad
    How on earth can you HAVE a government where the people running it have a disdain for what they are dong or providing for their constituents?

    Nevermind where the same peole are selling out to the highest bidder ... and don't gove me that crap where the democrats are doing it too
    because we ALL know republicans BY FAR outstretch the democrats when it comes to lobbying dollars
    and who started the 12th Street project?
    and who is in the pocket of the religious right ?

    You wanna fix the Government ... then boot the republicans




    GQjock, its like the old saying that started because of Reagan, "the republicans complain because government doesn't work, then connive, contrive, combat, whine and wedge every issue they can to get in government then they procede to show us just why government doesn't work"

    Remember too that it was Reagans administration that started the trend to bring in the Fundamentalist Christian vote through wedge issues. It was pretty well perfected during Rove's time under Bush.

    Just look what this trend has led to by watching the republican debates, These supposed debates are leaning dangerously close to being based on who can outdo the other with their "Christian bonified's", look how they line up to fall over one another to back israels Bible based "Jewish Homeland" to to back theft of Palestinian Homeland. Christian Fanaticism that we are seeing will justify anything, theft, taking from the poor, expelling immigrants, and on and on.


    PS Freedomis... stop your whining and if you connot confront what I bring up from facts, then don't embarass yourself by just finding some excuse to attack the messenger. its not very christlike.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 29, 2011 12:48 AM GMT
    realifedad said
    GQjock saidIs Government broken?
    Right now ... Hell Yeah it's shattered to bits

    and Why? Because you have a party where the new found principle is
    The Less Government the better

    Whereby anything that government does is inherently bad
    How on earth can you HAVE a government where the people running it have a disdain for what they are dong or providing for their constituents?

    Nevermind where the same peole are selling out to the highest bidder ... and don't gove me that crap where the democrats are doing it too
    because we ALL know republicans BY FAR outstretch the democrats when it comes to lobbying dollars
    and who started the 12th Street project?
    and who is in the pocket of the religious right ?

    You wanna fix the Government ... then boot the republicans




    GQjock, its like the old saying that started because of Reagan, "the republicans complain because government doesn't work, then connive, contrive, combat, whine and wedge every issue they can to get in government then they procede to show us just why government doesn't work"

    Remember too that it was Reagans administration that started the trend to bring in the Fundamentalist Christian vote through wedge issues. It was pretty well perfected during Rove's time under Bush.

    Just look what this trend has led to by watching the republican debates, These supposed debates are leaning dangerously close to being based on who can outdo the other with their "Christian bonified's", look how they line up to fall over one another to back israels Bible based "Jewish Homeland" to to back theft of Palestinian Homeland. Christian Fanaticism that we are seeing will justify anything, theft, taking from the poor, expelling immigrants, and on and on.


    PS Freedomis... stop your whining and if you connot confront what I bring up from facts, then don't embarass yourself by just finding some excuse to attack the messenger. its not very christlike.


    "facts" you? Haven't you already dedicated plenty enough threads toward your pet topic?

    Go Bebe!
  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    Sep 29, 2011 12:51 AM GMT
    Just a general comment, but I think we have passed through a period previously that is not unlike today politically. It was the period from 1856 to 1861.

    The political fight of the time was different, but in other ways the times were the same. Today is a follow-on to that time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 29, 2011 12:57 AM GMT
    conservativejock saidJust a general comment, but I think we have passed through a period previously that is not unlike today politically. It was the period from 1856 to 1861.

    The political fight of the time was different, but in other ways the times were the same. Today is a follow-on to that time.


    Yep, that's what I keep saying - we're headed toward armed conflict.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 29, 2011 1:02 AM GMT
    Broken Government

    Republican record number of filibusters
    filibuster-chart.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 29, 2011 1:09 AM GMT
    PresentMind saidIn REAL LIFE I do not feel this GREAT DIVIDE.

    My closest friend is a lifelong Republican.....but he's not in denial that government, especially local government needs his tax money to perform the services he wants.
    My favorite aunt is devoutly Christian and also a lifelong Republican.....but SHE ADORES MICHELLE OBAMA.
    I have plenty of Republican associates who are rational and capable of honest debate about the issues that we care about.

    BUT ONLINE, what a different world! Those representing themselves as Republicans want to project the most obnoxious elements of their Tea Party.
    And that's not just here on RJ. If you read the comments section of Politico.com or RedState.com you'll come to the conclusion that the Republicans are seething with anger and ready to explode in Revolution.

    In Real Life, I don't see the anger. How about you guys?


    I can only speak for myself, but I don't hate Obama and personally like both him and Michele, but I do disagree with him in many many ways. In fact, I have big differences with many other conservatives regarding the few ways I agree with him such as the GM and Chrysler loans. Normally no, but in this instance, I thought it was that important.

    At the local level I don’t feel that party matters as much as it’s mostly about who can keep the pot holes filled and the trash picked up. And frankly, that’s what the republicans want - are these decision made at the lowest level possible – local and state. And let the feds take care of what are powers enumerated in the constitution.

    I’m in front of local zoning boards and planning commissions and I don’t know who is of what party.

    I don’t see as much of it around here, but in West LA it frequently led very very close to violence. The left and few conservatives could hardly be in the same room together.

    “Republicans are seething with anger and ready to explode in Revolution.”

    Funny that I see exactly the same, but applied to the democrats.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 29, 2011 1:13 AM GMT
    "Yep, that's what I keep saying - we're headed toward armed conflict."

    Freedomisntfree(the former OneGeezer).........and Conservativejock(the former TwoMack) seem to share the same dream.

    Is this dream of civil war common among online dual-personality types?

    Can we call in Jockbod48(aka Cajock753) to concur?

    YIKES, Guys, this insanity exists primarily online. Look at the tiny numbers now at any Tea Party gathering.

    Americans want sanity and to return to working together. Those not yet getting the message are online loonies........and some Republicans in Congress who are way overestimating their numbers.