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Hopelessly Divided? Think Again


Hopelessly Divided? Think Again.

Frances Moore Lappé, Giulio Caperchi

“We are a divided nation!” Donald Trump tweets, while Hillary Clinton bemoans “the divisions” that are keeping “our people apart.”

So, it seems, most of us hold these truths to be self-evident: We are a polarized people and becoming more so every day. What could be more solid proof than the popularity of Trump’s extreme views and the unrelenting protests of the Bernie-or-busters?


"A 2014 study comparing red congressional districts and states to blue ones asked 388
questions on hot-topic issues ranging from abortion to gun control. In
two-thirds of cases, researchers found “no statistical differences” in
the answers between Republican and Democratic strongholds."

I just read through this summary and it boggles the mind. If there is so little separating red and blue districts, then where is all this division coming from? I read and occasionally comment on articles in the local newspaper and the same five or six ultra-right posters are there every day on every article. Maybe Siouxrose11 is on to something!


The fundamental difference that separates us seems to be views on the role of government. Those on the right want less government and those on the left want more government. Therefore, what divides us is how to accomplish things, through the private sector or government. Differences are stark when comparing views in western states like Wyoming and Utah with views in northeastern states like New York and Massachusetts. Or comparing the views of senators like Ted Cruz and the views of senators like Elizabeth Warren. Right now the main answer is to try to find common ground, which is not always easy and with strong movements on the right and left taking place will probably become even more difficult in the future.


The more government/less government argument is bogus.

The GOP rhetorically champions smaller government while continuing to expand and reshape government to be a provider of ever growing corporate welfare while cutting the parts of government that fund and administer "domestic programs".
Although Raygun continues to be falsely portrayed as the father of smaller government, during his two terms he expanded government to the point that there were more government employees per capita than ever as he created more federal debt than all of his 39 predecessors COMBINED. Raygun DID cut "domestic programs" while increasing corporate welfare exponentially, mostly benefiting the military industrial complex.

Although the the Democratic Party has only recently championed smaller government, it has been not far behind the GOP in expanding corporate welfare at the expense of the 99%. Unlike the GOP, the Democrats HAVE championed social issues that don't cost Wall Street anything.

On economic issues there is no real divide in Washington DC, just a rhetorical divide..


Good to see a positive news story like this, here is my take on what impact some (no time to look up johnson) of the candidates will have on these issues as pres:
AGW: Clinton: window dressing, Trump: no real impact, Stein: good
Gun Control: Clinton: good, Trump none, Stein: good
Tax system: Clinton: none, Trump: none, Stein: good
Big Business: Clinton: none, Trump: none, Stein: good
Special Interests: Clinton: none, Trump: none, Stein: good


I know a number of conservatives as well as progressives, and I agree with the point that the great majority of the citizens agree on the great majority of the issues. But it doesn't really matter, because the policies are implemented by politicians chosen behind closed doors by plutocrats. Sure, the little people get to vote for R or D, but the R or D nominees at the elite levels, and certainly at the presidential level, have been pre-selected by the plutocrats and the completely controlled MSM. Sometimes, as we saw recently at the DNC, the plutocrats have to take further measures, even extraordinary measures, to ensure their candidates win the nominations.


Yes, the Dems talk a better game than the Republicans on getting money out of politics.

"Taking place at DiCaprio's Los Angeles home, guests must shell out $33,400 for a ticket to the lunchtime event on Tuesday, Aug. 23, called a "Conversation With Hillary Rodham Clinton." The star-studded gathering is also being hosted by Jennifer and Tobey Maguire, Jennifer Aniston, Yael and Scooter Braun, Shonda Rhimes, and ICM Partners' Chris Silbermann.

According to the Clinton campaign website, the first $2,700 will go to the campaign, while the remaining amount will be allocated to the Democratic National Committee and state parties."


Oh.The money is mostly going to the DNC and state parties. Why does that sound so familiar?

"DNC sought to hide details of Clinton funding deal
Leaked emails show officials tried to obscure fact that Clinton allowed states to keep only a tiny fraction of proceeds from joint fundraising."


The Dems aren't going to stop milking that cash cow and any verbiage to the contrary is just electioneering.


That will be a lot easier if we don't generalize without data (that we have common ground seems to be the basis of the article) and don't characterize others from our own simplistic ideologies. I'm definitely one of those "on the left," and I know no one who "want[s] more government." I want a more responsive and participatory government, not governors sitting on my head, but me — and you — sitting in the governors' ears. I want my views represented in the decisions made by those in my government.

Now, "comparing the views of senators like Ted Cruz and ... senators like Elizabeth Warren"? There you're definitely going to find a difference. But the difference I hear is between spouting ideology mostly about getting re/elected and proposing ways to make government work better. We can't operate as 30 million sovereign citizens, because we have shared needs and belongings. Even if there were no need for police, we would still need fire services, expert bridge and highway maintenance, ... Elizabeth Warren created a new government bureau that has gotten two predatory banks and two bill collectors off my back. I can't think of a single thing Cruz has even proposed that's helped me or would help me. Maybe back when he was clerking for Scalia he did something I couldn't see, but that's how government most often works.

I'm not ready yet to throw up my hands. I know America works.


Look no farther than the corporate owned media. It enriches their rich owners to keep us divided. It created ratings. 24/7 "news" channels have to have something to talk about.


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At the proverbial end of the day, what matters most to people is whether they have the means to keep their families together, housed and fed. A chunk of the population doesn't. In the real world, not everyone is able to work, and there aren't jobs for all. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s. Our middle class demanded an end to the most basic human rights (per the UN's UDHR) of food and shelter for our very poor, and the Democrats delivered.

We've been through another eight years of media alternating anti-white bigotry with middle class elitism. What reaction would you expect? We're deeply divided and subdivided, pitted against each other. Tensions have only continued to quietly grow. It's impossible to even begin dealing with critically important issues if people choose to deny that those problems exist.


Umm...Glaring error noted in the second to the last paragraph - WE DO NOT HAVE A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM!


Ted Cruz shouldn't be allowed to gain power enough to have a say over what I do. That's all I can say about Ted Cruz. That and his nose looks like a male appendage.:joy_cat:


The acceptance of division is an essential cornerstone of democracy, so why bemoan it? It ensures debate and provides inherent checks and balances on the abuse of power and the inevitable mistakes made by the powerful. Isn't that why you lot rebelled against the benign hand of Mother Englande back in 1776?


Capitalism cannot be reformed, at least not in a meaningful and lasting way.

"The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.
Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth..."

From the Industrial Workers of the World preamble

Working class emancipation necessarily excludes the role of political leadership. Even if we could conceive of a leader-ridden working class displacing the capitalist class from power such an immature class would be helpless to undertake the responsibilities of democratic socialist society. capitalism cannot meet the needs of the majority of the people in the world. It does not today, and it never can.
In order to meet these needs, capitalism must be replaced by socialism. The only way to achieve socialism is for the working class to recognize this and consciously and politically work to replace capitalism with socialism. By relegating socialism to the future, it is relegated to never. The World Socialist Movement does not support the idea of reforming capitalism and therefore does not work for reforms. There are plenty of other organizations that do and yet the problems remain. Only a movement dedicated only to socialism can promote socialism in any real, honest manner.



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Be even more skeptical of the "new media" unchecked by editors and legal advice. Look at the dates on reports. Don't attribute everything published by someone with some connection to some respected institution TO that institution and assume it's been fact-checked. Ask for the sources of quotes. Do a little legwork for yourself before you repeat claims. Think critically, especially about ideas you like. Just think. Actually think.


Great post, ray,

Just one refinement on the last sentence (and with relevance to the article title) that I think is important to help people to understand what you're saying and not misinterpret (or disinterpret) it:

Virtually the whole corporate duopoly party agrees on issues of economics, militarism, and (mistaken) belief in the conservative nature of reality; the difference is the type of lies each party tells in support of those conservative ideas. Republicans spread very conservative lies capturing the competition- and punishment-oriented, racist, gender- and sex-phobic, extremely patriarchal, etc. part of the population while the Democrats tell lies about what they'll do in opposing those, while failing to offer any opposition to the conservative frames about all the important and deeper issues. So the country continues to get its rightward gallop reinforced, even though the Democrats keep benefitting from capturing the part of the population that disagrees with what the Republicans are saying. Corporate money and constant propagandizing (even down to frames and memes that are deeper than politics--that part about the nature of reality) narrow the practical choices so much and multiple layers of defense destroy any leftish possibilities. Depression is what happens when anger is repressed; despair is what happens when all avenues of action are made impossible. Both serve to dampen ability to act, and false dichotomies are the only choice presented (over and over and over and over and over and over and over...): Republican v. Democrat vs thoughtful and caring conservative vs. thoughtful and caring progressive; being forced to choose between surrendering to the false dichotomy of voting yes on the corporate selectees or giving up v. acting positively in many ways...

So people are left with bunches of pseudo choices and thus are manipulated into going along one way or another. The patriarchy covers its ass in every way possible and effectively prevents action from those suffering every imaginable predilection (I think of it in terms of Bill Bowen's psycho-physical therapy, but a simplified version is Hakomi character strategies http://www.pathoutofpain.com.au/infomation/html/strategies.html ). When people get psychologically healthy they start to see through the deception but the empire prevents that from happening in dozens of ways, too.


I agree, and what I say comes from a lifetime of doing exactly that. But...

The corporate system has achieved such universal dominance there is virtually no way to live in the developed world anymore without paying them a large part of your income. The only way to pay them less is to make less, but in the end, a few people withholding one ten thousandth of a percent of what the corporate system collects every year--how much change do you think that's going to make? I continue to do it because it can teach us how to do more, it can inspire others, and moistly [oops--mostly. Freudian typo corrected] because it allows and enables us to be more integrated. Inner action and outer action both personal and political come into more perfect alignment and that, in the end, makes us much more powerful. But massive, courageous, relentless political action--backed by the rest of our integrated selves--is the only thing that can make the difference now.


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