Is our country so divided that a civil war could actually break out? I typically ignore it when I hear the thought verbalized, but occasionally someone will steer a post toward the comments on a Twitter feed and it is scary how some people truly seem ready to take to the streets and fight off us “evil leftist radicals.”
But what would we be fighting over? Dare I say, what would we be fighting FOR?
Don’t we all want the same things? The dignity of work that pays a living wage that allows us to put food on our table, have a solid roof over our head, that allows us to provide for our families, take them on a vacation once a year, send our kids to good schools in safe neighborhoods so they can get an education that allows for them to do better than our generation did? Don’t we want to pay for their college tuition, our daughters’ weddings, and have enough left over to retire in dignity, maybe at a small cabin on the lake? And through it all, don’t we want access to affordable healthcare that is sufficient for our family’s needs but doesn’t bankrupt us in the process. And wouldn’t clean air, water, food, along with safe roads & bridges be lovely as well?
So if that’s what we all agree on, what the hell are we fighting about?
Maybe the question we need to ask is ‘who is preventing us from having all of that and why?’
The left blames the corporatocracy; the right blames the “undeserving other”. We keep electing people who say they will provide this or protect us from those that won’t, yet they all fall into the same mess. It’s the system that is broken.
More than that, we no longer trust the referees — the impartial third party that is supposed to balance the two opposing sides. As a result, our sense of fairness becomes distorted. Instead of fair to all, we expect fair as long as it’s fair to me, screw you.
So people get discouraged and they stop voting, because why bother? And if I’m not going to vote, why should I pay attention to what’s going on? I’m happier when I unplug the news. Then there are those of us who overcompensate, who are hyper-vigilant to all that is going on and do our best to force others to pay attention even if most days it feels like we are screaming into the wind.
And then it becomes too much for the hyper-vigilant people. Substance abuse and suicide rates are climbing as people seek some way to escape the madness, to numb out so the pain & frustration of it all isn’t quite so intense.
There is clearly a divide & conquer strategy here at work. I’m not sure it’s necessarily left vs right, Democratic vs Republican. I believe it is the corporate interests vs the people.
We’ll talk about the opioid crisis but when will we talk about the crisis of GREED? About corporations’ pathological pursuit of profits at the expense of all else? Do we dare talk about the role of shareholders who demand those short term profits?
We’ve got a mess on our hands and it’s not going to get solved if we’re fighting with each other. Let’s all stop pretending we have all the answers, or that my tribe is smarter than yours. Let’s look at the problems that need to be solved — access to affordable health care, fair access to the ballot box, addressing climate change, income inequality — and let’s pull together experts and end users, the best & brightest minds to figure out what works for the many instead of the few.
All I’m telling you is that you can’t afford to put your head in the sand and ignore what’s going on. And demonizing each other isn’t working so well either. We’ve got to get the corporate interests involved less and the people who have to live with these decisions involved more.
As long as we keep putting people back in office term after term simply because we recognize the name or think the devil we know is better than the devil we don’t is the better option, we are part of the problem. Get to know your candidates or become one yourself. Don’t demand ideological purity. If they have a record, challenge it. If they don’t, pay more attention to their actions and less to their words.
We have a mess on our hands. Your crazy-FOX-viewing-uncle is no more the problem than your leftie-baby-killing-socialist-Facebook-friend. Your fellow American — no longer how long they’ve held that title — is not the problem. It is those with power that use it for their own gain instead of for the common good.
So let’s stop talking about war and focus on how we can work together.