The questions posed this week: 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?
The assumption being made in responding to this question is that the divide in question is the political divide between the left and right ends of the political spectrum. The danger in this assumption is clear, as the author of the question may at some point clarify, until such time the following response will stand.
On more than one occasion, if not quite often, this space has been used to address, categorize and reflect upon the political, social, moral, ethical, and religious divide in our nation and around the world. The particulars of our interest stem from a desire to see the defense of individual liberty as the primary concern of government within the United States, and the return of individual responsibility and restraint within the society at large. In addressing the division, we will to look to the nature of the divide, its cause, extent and effects on our nation and world. As for curative measures, the prescription has been laid out on more than one occasion and in different forms, we may review them as well.
Many will no doubt note that the divide is not significant given the relative closeness of the recent election, others will not that it isn’t significant given the breadth and depth of the Republican majority in the Federal government, and finally others will offer that it is simply as it has always been. None of these arguments are without merit and the appropriate facts and statistics to back them up. The crux, however, is not the size of the divide in numbers, but rather the enormity of variance in the view of governance, personal responsibility, and moral living. In this regard, the divide is worthy of our attention.
The two most prominent disparities between the left and right, in the U.S., are found in their view of the role of government and their relationship to the individuals who espouse the extremes of either side. In this most recent election, the left not only accepted the fringe elements of the left, they courted them as we witnessed the likes of Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Howard Dean and others, propagating conspiracy theories and outright lies concerning President Bush, September 11th, and America’s response to Islamo-fascist terror, while continuing to use judicial fiat to create law where none previously existed. This came in stark contrast to the principled words and actions of the right over the last decade which has effectively disassociated its fringe elements espousing isolationism, immediate elimination of various government departments (i.e. the IRS, Education, EPA, etc.), and overturning current law by fiat. For many decades, it was the left that sought through “baby-steps” to achieve their agenda, and the right floundered about by espousing a larger roll back of government programs that could not connect with voters across the board. In the last 10 years, the right has mastered begun to take the baby-steps approach, and the left has, in response and despair, jumped headlong into the extreme social agenda that does not resonate with the majority.
This space will not seek to heal the divide. This isn’t to say that it will not be supportive of reasoned debate and the end of the current vitriol between the two sides. The reality is that the left has made significant errors, and those who’ve supported its slide into moral abyss, support for a socialist agenda and advocacy for the cessation of constitutional norms, are also the parties who’ll have to move toward the center in order to regain both political relevance and establish the credibility required to be taken seriously. This will be necessary both among the political elites, as well as the so-called average man on the street or left leaning blogger. When a blogger associates himself with such off the mark positions, only his future actions will return him to credibility as a proponent of ideas or ideology. It is his actions, which must mark his return to the center, where the vast majority of Americans reside.
It may be of benefit to us all to consider that the divide is not among the people of America, by and large, instead it is rather a divide as to what America is, how we should govern and be governed, and the role of the individual in the recognition of and defense of his liberties, opportunity and personal responsibilities. No liberal, leftist, centrist, conservative or right-winger espouses an ideology or view of governance without also addressing his view of himself and how he wishes to be viewed by others and government in general.
Mud and Phud
Ogre's Politics and Views
A Physicist's Perspective
The Commons (Paulie)
Mad Poets Anonymous
Mark A. Kilmer's Political Annotation
In Search of Utopia
The Hopeful Cynic