It’s time to stop saying people in various political factions should unite. It is not going to happen.
We live in a grossly divided nation where people dig their feet in on every single issue. Every issue is the one that leads us to the hill on which we plan to die…until the next one comes along.
The reason it all seems so much more vitriolic now, compared to years past, has nothing to do with who is in office, but instead with the fact that everything else has become political. It used to be that we had a few major issues in America and everything else was a supporting reason to align with a political party. Every now and again, people would cross the aisle and our elected officials even worked together, but these days, you’re either for something or against it and there’s no inbetween.
Education, the military, student loans, the media, guns, speech, sexual preference, not taxes but actual tax returns, vacation homes, medicine, rounds of golf, funeral attendance, immigration, children of immigrants, a wall, bridges, visits to closed beaches, locker room conversations, our food, the environment, water sources, civil asset forfeiture, what your doctors ask you at your visits, cell phones, how veterans are welcomed home, agriculture, a mountain, a statue, a history book. We live in a day and age where GENDER has become a political issue that is somehow divided by two political parties. Even the police are political, for Heaven’s sake. And don’t forget race. At some point in the last decade, race became a qualifier for certain political beliefs and, in some circles (across all races), an opinion can be deemed invalid simply because of the color of your skin.
We’re all standing at the wrong end of a telescope, looking down the pipe at a glaringly small and political world. Nothing is free from politicization anymore and we’re walking around in proverbial straight jackets of our own beliefs.
The days of discussing issues, history, and solutions are long gone. We don’t talk about why something happened or how we got to this point. We attack people in debates and say they’re too young to understand, or too old to comprehend new ideas. Someone who doesn’t agree with us could never offer any valid points, instead, they’re a snowflake with no backbone or integrity. The stereotyping has led to generalizations that a liberal is automatically a system-sucking leech, a conservative is never willing to help the needy, and those pesky people who don’t align with either somehow deserve the most blame. How or why they came to believe what they do is no longer a question that is asked.
And many of us see actual fault in a person with different beliefs. “How could they think that way?” “What is wrong with them?” “If only they did a little research by sources I deem credible…”
We want people to unite so long as the unification happens on “our side.”
Tragedies can’t even bring us together anymore. Think back on the last time a tragedy united the nation instead of dividing it.
It wasn’t Sandy Hook, Aurora, or Fort Hood. In those instances, we immediately took up the gun debate.
It wasn’t Benghazi because we had to place blame before the names of those killed were even released.
It wasn’t when a car drove into a crowd of people at a protest. That was rooted in race, not evil.
Natural disasters can divert the political conversation until the soil is dry…but then everyone has to talk about response time, who was available to help, who wasn’t prepared, and how much it all cost.
We don’t stand together as Americans for any reason anymore. We won’t stand with people who don’t look like us, believe like us, or vote like us. We’ve developed a mindset that everyone else must come around to OUR beliefs, not that we should open our minds to hear, let alone respect, theirs. We stand firm in our position and wait for others to get in formation next to us.
But that’s idealism in its absolute worst form and we are all guilty of it.
People who did not support President Trump are not going to come around and suddenly embrace him and his policies. Trump supporters are not going to abandon their values and they aren’t going to stop telling opponents to “get over it.” The wall that’s stifling productivity in the United States isn’t on the border, but between those who believe in one ideology and those who do not.
This is not new. If you didn’t vote for Barack Obama, did you come around to support him? The majority of people are going to say NO. If they did support him, few will name something that sent them away from their allegiance to him or the Democratic Party.
Political philosophy has become a commitment stronger than the vows of a marriage.
It has nothing to do with Trump or Obama or any other single political figure in history. This has been a work in progress for years…and we’ve allowed to happen. And most of us, despite what we say, are okay with this.
So we have to stop saying “It’s time to unite.” All we’re doing is outlining expectations and showing disappointment and condemnation when those expectations are not met. When “unite” actually means “conform to what we believe,” we are just widening the gap and ensuring that unification is not something we’ll see in our lifetime.
The article above is an opinion piece by the author and reflects only the views of the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.