Divide & Conquer: Mission accomplished?

I love sites that permit commenting to articles, editorials and opinion pieces because reading what other readers have to say puts things in perspective.

But I am sorry to say that, in reading comments on sites like this one and others, one fact becomes obvious: Americans resent, blame, fear and distrust other Americans. It’s not just about disagreeing with one another, because surely we can do that without hating each other. Most of us are in friendships, marriages, families, and working partnerships with people we don’t always see eye-to-eye with and often have fundamental disagreements with. So it’s not like we’re not capable of agreeing to disagree, while still finding mostly common ground under our feet.

And yet, reading what ordinary Americans have to say, it’s pretty clear that we’re deeply divided. No one can really agree on what “the real American way” is (except each of us are sure that we are real Americans — and the other guy isn’t). It comes as a surprise to me that there are such wild extremes in ideas about what went wrong, what the country needs, what we should expect from our government, what we should do for our economy, how we should protect our rights and freedoms (and even what those rights and freedoms are), and how we should relate to the rest of the world. I had thought (hoped maybe) that we were closer in our visions.

It seems though that we’ve gotten ourselves into a Mexican standoff where some views are so extreme, so incompatible with others that no matter what happens, there will be huge angry factions resisting and trying to undo it, working to undermine and discredit others.

Have we come to have so little in common with each other that we can’t even share a country?


  1. almandine

    Well, T.J., we’re not talking the Mason/Dixon here… in this case the border runs from Vancouver to Maine… and regarding present commenters, and supposing you’re south of that border, there’s only you and me here to share this country. Go figure.

  2. Flapsaddle

    Have we come to have so little in common with each other that we can’t even share a country?

    Do you suppose the same question was asked by both Northerners and Southerners as they approached the 1860 election?

    I think that these intervals of polarization tend to be cyclic.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle