(UnitedVoice.com) – Watching the news today makes one wonder how we even have a country. Half of the people detest the President of the United States, the approval rating of Congress is less than 25%, and the media is not much better. The government is no longer trusted to do big things, and the people are portrayed as not trusting each other.
There was a time America did great things, and Americans were united around them. We won a world war, went to the moon, and created the world’s biggest technological advancements. Yes, Americans were proud and unified.
So, what happened?
How did we get to a place where two-thirds of Democrats say they don’t have one friend who is a Republican?
It’s not much better on the other side as Republicans don’t have many friends who are Democrats either. But it’s worse than that. Many liberals and moderate Democrats don’t know how to feel about their party, but they hate the Republican Party. And although many conservatives are conflicted about the Republican Party, they hate the Democratic Party.
What is driving all this hatred, and has America permanently lost the unity we shared just a generation ago?
Three significant contexts are driving the lack of unity:
- The desire to obtain power at all costs
- The rise of President Trump
1. Modern American History
The 1960s and 1970s were transformational decades. A lot was happening at once as social changes were occurring rapidly. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Great Society into law to help the poor. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, ending segregation. The Vietnam War escalated and became controversial and highly political. Protestors and rioters took the street, demanding that it stop.
Richard Nixon was aware of, and perhaps contributed to, the break-in of the Democratic National Party’s offices located at the Watergate building in Washington, DC. It set off the greatest political scandal up to that time in American history. Before Congress could initiate impeachment proceedings, Nixon resigned in disgrace.
2. Obtain Power at All Costs
During the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan brought hope and prosperity back to America. Unfortunately, by the 1990s, it was all eroded when President Clinton was in office.
America was changing again, and generations were crashing. Younger people only cared about their wallets, and older people were concerned about the president’s lack of personal morals in office. A new philosophy was taking hold, and it was epitomized by Nike’s slogan, “Just do it.” The idea was if something makes you feel good… you get the point.
Clinton’s lack of candidness with the truth surrounding a sex scandal led to his impeachment. Many thought it was overhand by the Republican-led House, who were politically opposed to him. A new form of politics arrived – the politics of personal destruction.
From 2000 to 2016, big government proved itself inept. The Supreme Court ultimately decided the controversial Gore/Bush election, which severely divided the country along party lines.
The Iraq War created intense political division by the end of Bush’s second term. Though there was a widespread agreement for the war early on, Democrats succumbed to the anti-war side of their party.
By the time of the 2016 election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was having a hard time justifying her full support and vote for the war as a US Senator. Her vote and rationale for supporting it before she was against it likely played some role in her defeat with disappointed Democrats.
3. The Election of Donald Trump
Under President Barack Obama, the country began to divide over the growth and power of the federal government. However, other issues developed as well. Culture wars erupted around Christmas, racial and policing issues, and an economy that limped along slowly but steadily led to the candidacy of Donald Trump.
In 2015 and 2016, Trump ran a campaign that built on the premise that the government was corrupt, and that established bureaucrats were running the government at the detriment of the people. He promised to “drain the swamp.”
He talked about ending illegal immigration that hurt the middle class, but at times did it too harshly and offensively. He also promised to end lousy trade deals that destroyed manufacturing and good American jobs. Finally, Trump promised to rebuild the military that Obama dismantled.
Altogether, these things riled Democrats who saw him as a threat to democracy and their achievements under Obama. However, Republicans saw him as a hero.
In an attempt to pull a Republican move during Clinton’s presidency, Democrats and the media ferociously attacked Trump’s character over his past sexual statements. However, the country had moved on from people’s private lives so long as a candidate’s actions were not illegal. The only other avenue they had to morally discredit him was to call his supporters “deplorables” and label Trump a racist. It was a final line that felt no longer drawn in the sand but etched in stone.
The result was four years of the Trump presidency that has been rife with controversy as partisans fought.
The country experienced a Democratic Party that improperly initiated an investigation into fake Russian collusion. They impeached a president over something that every president in history could and should be impeached for according to the standard they set — including Barack Obama.
Democrats in major US cities are now calling for the defunding of police and supporting an erosion of public safety. They are empowering and defending rioters and destruction of personal and public property while calling lawlessness “patriotic” and “peaceful” during the “summer of love.” They allowed autonomous zones and then blamed the president and his administration for the violence the Democrats empowered.
Is it Any Wonder Democrats and Republicans Distrust One Another?
The public has empowered politicians and the media to divide us. But are we really that divided? America’s political divisions are driven by hatred of one party for another as they exercise their will to obtain power.
Caught in the middle are Americans who agree with one another far more than they disagree on virtually every issue. Most Americans believe in controlled immigration, a strong defense, public safety, good police officers, and asking the government to be responsible and do big things for the country. If we can send a person to the moon, Americans can do anything.
The question is, can Americans unite again? Only if we start talking with one another and discovering we have a lot more in common than we don’t, and that most of us really do like one another despite political differences.
Benjamin Franklin once said that “politics is the art of the possible.” We have to find our way back to that mentality if we are to unite again.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
The above opinions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the publisher.
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