Let me start out with what may be a startling statement that many of you won’t believe, even though it is true…
This country is not really all that divided. At least, it’s no more divided now than it ever has been.
I can almost hear the gasps as you read that statement, but it’s true. That’s not to say we don’t have problems speaking to each other because we do. However, the reality is, most of the static is coming from the extreme ends of the spectrum, both right and left. That, combined with the dawn of social media, which seems to have a large population of miscreants whose main purpose seems to say the nastiest shit they can get away with. Someone has to do something about the perceived anonymity on the Internet because there are far too many people who say shit they would never say face-to-face. There is also the problem of the miscreants creating hundreds or thousands of accounts, just to make trouble. It’s time that stopped.
That is why we seem so divided at times. There is a lot of screaming, but all of it is coming from the far right, which makes up about 10% of the population, and the far left, which makes up about 5-8% of the population. The problem is, our journalistic community seems to like a fight, so they spend an inordinate amount of time recording what the loudest Americans are saying and too little trying to determine what most Americans actually think about anything. About 80% of the electorate is being ignored altogether; the only opinions that we hear about come from the far right and the far left. Both groups like to attract attention and rouse the rabble, for completely different reasons.
Most Americans work with people from the other side, politically, and there are rarely fisticuffs, but when you go onto the Internet, fisticuff of a sort seem to dominate.
I used to work in large law firms and we did a lot of lobbying work. We did work for telecom companies that wanted some regulatory relief at a time when landline systems were on the decline and cable companies were encroaching on their territories, and we also lobbied for people who were seeking asylum for people who were being oppressed by policies that we would never accept in the United States of America. Yet, when people in various Internet fora found out who I worked for, the far right called me names from their direction and the far left did the same from their direction. It’s funny; I worked with people from the far left and far right, in person, and the only person who made trouble was a right-wing paralegal who used to work for Ken Starr and thought he was a demigod, and she made all her trouble on the Internet. In person, not a peep, but on the Internet, she trashed me and my liberal colleagues.
What I am trying to say is, if you want the real picture, get your face away from your computers and devices and operate in the real world, to gain some perspective.
Both sides show a dizzying level of political ignorance, of course, although the far right is a hell of a lot meaner and nastier. The far left, though, operates in a fog. They seem unaware that we have a two-party system and they seem perfectly happy with losing elections. While some might disagree with that assessment, you’d be hard-pressed to find a major argument that didn’t incude one or the other.
The extremes on both sides are politically brain-dead much of the time, although right wingers are far worse because they lack any semblance of common sense and they are ignorant of basic facts. However, when you analyze just political ignorance, the right wing at least has enough sense to attach themselves to a political party and try to win. The far left – especially the Bernie Stans – has been undermining the Democratic Party for a generation because they think they can trash the least right wing of the two parties and somehow fashion a fully progressive party; something that is absolutely impossible in the real world. Worse, they’ve been doing this for almost 50 years now, and they have completely forgotten how to win, politically.
Let me give those on the far left a hint. We have two political parties in this country and one has become radicalized to the point of being un-American. They are causing harm to the country’s standing in the world and the economic advantage we once enjoyed has largely dissipated. So, why does the far left portray the two major parties as largely the same, when they actually have no resemblance to one another these days. Just the fact that Republicans nominated Trump should point to a major difference, as should the fact that only 3 Republican Senators voted against repealing the ACA and replacing it with nothing. There is no theory under which the Democratic Party would allow someone as awful as Trump to be nominated. In fact, they have a mechanism to prevent such a thing. They’re called superdelegates. See what I mean about political ignorance, far lefties.
Meanwhile, while the far right and far left are screaming at each other, about 80 percent of the population just lives their life, trying to make ends meet in a country that has basically been handed over to the extremists who have taken over the Republican Party. They are relatively quiet when it comes to the rhetoric, but make no mistake; they run the show. Neither far right nor far left appeals to them, so while the two extremes fight constantly, they stay home too often because they are convinced that everyone who runs is horrible and that It doesn’t matter which party they vote for. They are leaving us with a political party that nominates an asshole like Trump and then supports him no matter what.
This country is not polarized. This country’s political debate is simply dominated by two extremes who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to politics and who think they’re more powerful than the 80 percent of the electorate who thinks they’re assholes, when the opposite is true. two small portions screaming at each other in public does not mean we’re polarized; it means extremists need to sit down and shut up more often.
Stop shouting, far lefties and professional lefties. If you reduce the political noise by half, you will do two things; you will make the far right look more ridiculous than they already do and you will get more of the 80 percent in the middle to listen to you.
No one hears you when you shout at them, anyway. Think about it; who are you most likely to listen to and take seriously; someone who shouts at you and implies you’re an asshole or someone who speaks to you in a considerate tone and offers you an alternative? If you decide to go to the park to eat lunch, and two people are arguing at the top of their lungs, you try to get as far away from them as possible and possibly run some music through your headphones to drown them out.
One reason Bernie lost is because Bernie Stans’ chosen strategy was to attack Hillary because they are too immature to know that polarization is bad politics. That strategy also caused the electoral college to elect Donald Trump, which makes it doubly stupid and destructive. Al Gore and John Kerry lost to a stiff named George W. Bush because the far left thought they had to attack the Democrats as a way to support Ralph Nader. That’s immature bullshit. Here is reality. If you had praised Gore and Kerry and went after Bush, we could have avoided two terms of Bush and Nader could have gotten the five percent he coveted for permanent ballot status.
We’re not polarized; the far right and far left are stupid and they shout their stupidity at the top of their lungs.
Also published on Medium.