<$BlogRSDURL$> abbr, acronym { cursor: help; font-style: normal; font-weight:bold; color: #2a548d; /*border-bottom: 1px solid; */ }

Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Monday, November 22, 2004


Homespun Symposium

This post is my submission to this week's Homespun Symposium. The question posed by In Search of Utopia is:

Is the division in America important to you? What will be necessary to heal it? What part do you see Bloggers playing in that discussion and how will you personally contribute to it?
My first thought is, What division? I know, I know. I have also heard an awful lot of talk about how divided the country is too. But what, exactly, is that opinion based on? I would suggest that a good deal of the apparent division in the country is due to a small number of politically active groups driven by lingering anger over the results of the 2000 election making a lot of noise. The noise they manage to make is then amplified by the Media, for whatever reasons. However, any true division that might exist is independent of how loudly these groups scream.

Certainly some would look at this and assert that I have just admitted that we are, in fact, divided and the cause was the 2000 election. Well, I must disagree. I know that there is always a lot of discussion based on poll numbers and apparent public opinion. My general impression is that polls are so fraught with error and bias that they are generally useless. A far more accurate (although not as flexible) way to determine public opinion is to just look at election results. And after all, if the 2000 election was the cause of the division in this country then shouldn't the 2004 election have put those ill feelings to rest?

So...let's take a look at just how 'divided' we have been in the recent past. Why is it that I don't recall hearing similar talk of division during Clinton's years? Look at the election results and then tell me that we're more divided today than we were then. Bill Clinton never received a simple majority of the popular vote. As a matter of fact, if one were to go back and award votes for Perot to George H. W. Bush or Bob Dole you'll find that the 1992 and 1996 elections would have gone the other way (1992) or would have been very close (1996). Since Perot drew far more voters from the Right than from the Left, why is it that we didn't hear people claiming that Bill Clinton had no mandate and that he should reach across the aisle to Republicans and conduct himself in a bipartisan manner?

Aside from my general distaste for the painfully obvious double standard I am generally irritated with all this talk of division. We just had an election wherein the incumbent received more popular votes than any candidate in history. Granted, the election was close in terms of popular vote percentage and Electoral College votes...but the point remains that George Bush won the election hands down. So, we're divided?

I would argue that any division that does exist is not new but has only been brought into the direct light of public perception by virtue of the violent and sensational events of the past few years. From the contentious election of 2000 to 9/11/01 to Afghanistan and Iraq, politics has become increasingly important in the minds of more and more Americans (hence the increased overall turnout at the polls this year). So perhaps rather than attempt to find causes for the 'new' division in this country, we should consider what led to the continued (if underlying) division that has been seething for years. Only once we admit the true nature of the division can we attempt to fix it.

Since I obviously believe that any division we see around us today has been going strong for years, I'm not sure exactly how to address the second part of the question. I'm not sure how I am supposed to contribute to any healing of the divide. I suppose the most likely way that I will contribute will be to continue my efforts to point out what I see as the Truth. Likely, that is the only thing that any of us can do. Only through reasoned discussion can we even begin to correctly define the issues of contention between Left, Right and everyone else, for that matter.

In the end whether or not we will fix the divide depends on its nature. It seems to me that many of the points of contention among various ends of the political spectrum concern very basic disagreements. I see this whenever I talk to certain liberal friends. We can go back and forth for an hour and in the end come the conclusion that, although we understand each other completely, we simply don't agree. In the end I think that speaking of 'healing' whatever divide there might be is misleading. It can only be 'healed' if it's sick in the first place. The current division is healthy in the sense that each side understands the other and fundamentally disagrees. My advice: Keep fighting for what you believe. Maybe, just maybe, you'll manage to help a few people 'see the light' in your lifetime. At the end of the day, that's about all we can really hope for.

Other Homespun Bloggers weigh in:

Ogre's Politics and Views
Little Red Blog
A Physicist's Perspective
The Commons (Paulie)
Mad Poets Anonymous
Bunker Mulligan
Mark A. Kilmer's Political Annotation


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?