We may still be the United States, but we are not a united people

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We may still be the United States, but we are not a united people. Our divisions have deepened, and the bridges across them have grown rickety, unable to bear much weight because we have invested so little in maintaining them.

You can see those divisions — divisions of race, class, education, generation and gender — with startling clarity in the political polls. In the most recent ABC News poll, Hillary Clinton boasts a 33-point lead among college-educated women, a 54-point lead among minority voters. Conversely, Donald Trump has a 19-point lead among white voters without a degree, and a 31-point lead among white men without a degree. And while young Americans vote overwhelmingly for Clinton; their grandparents vote strongly for Trump.

More importantly, you hear those divisions in our harsh rhetoric, and it’s not just coming from the politicians. I cast my first presidential vote 40 years ago, for Gerald Ford, and for most Americans, no election in that time frame has caused as much friction at the personal level as this one. We are losing a basic respect for the other side as well-meaning if perhaps mistaken fellow Americans, and without that respect, longstanding friendships and family relationships are hard to sustain. So too is democracy.

Our natural inclination, of course, is to blame our leaders for failing to lead, for failing to unite us. Why can’t they fix this? But our leaders are not the problem. The system isn’t the problem either. We, the people, are the problem.

We have replaced skepticism and self-doubt — the capacity to suspect that maybe, just maybe, the other guy could be right about a few things — with a fiery self-righteousness that is born not of confidence but of fear and defensiveness. It takes a certain degree of courage to keep open the possibility of error, to honestly test our beliefs against the facts. The easier course is to seek out affirmation not information, confirmation not truth.

And with so many seeking such affirmation, a profitable industry has arisen to fulfill that desire, to tell people what they want to hear. The usual metaphor is that of an information bubble, derived from “The Boy in the Bubble,” the true story of a little boy back in the ’70s who had no immune system and was forced to live in a plastic bubble, cut off from human contact. Bubbles now exist on both sides of the political spectrum, if to varying degrees.

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Source: PBS

Personally, though, I still prefer the hothouse metaphor. In a hothouse or greenhouse, you can grow beautiful, fragile flowers that thrive only in that highly controlled environment, in the exact soil, temperature and humidity range needed to grow them. However, if you open the hothouse doors and expose those plants to the cold winds of reality, they will wither and die.

That’s what happens in an election. That safe, comfortable hothouse environment of cyberspace and 24-hour cable news is forced open to reality, and all the things that you would like to believe are exposed to people whom you never see or meet or talk to, but who still exist and are every bit as real as you are. They get to vote on whether your version of reality matches their reality, and the price of membership demanded by democracy, the thing that demands united acceptance, is that we all accept that verdict, even if we would prefer a reality that was different.

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907 comments
CarlosSantiago
CarlosSantiago

That is certainly true.
Half the people in the country believe that the other half owes them a living.  While that "other half" doesn't think it's fair that they have to make a living for themselves and for the other half as well. 
And both halves vote accordingly:  One half votes for candidates who are going to let them keep what they earn, while the other half votes for candidates who are going to take what that other half earns and spend it on them.

13Directors
13Directors

@CarlosSantiago And another half doesn't understand that they should have invested in learning new skills when the writing was on the wall, and now they think they can turn the clock back to accommodate their lean skill set. Fat chance of that happening. 

ptcrunner
ptcrunner

Outrage is not the answer - solutions are the answer. This has not been the case for the past quarter century with the unfortunate rise of the talk radio culture and the Misinformation Superhighway. It's far easier for the public to digest the outrage which is characterized by simple populist sound-bites - instead of more complex, reasoned answers and discussion.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Would it help, liberals, if the warnings are coming from one of your trusted media outlets? 

Don't just take MY word for it, even the intensely anti-Putin Guardian has to concede that the risks are worrisome.

Why Hillary Clinton's plans for no-fly zones in Syria could provoke US-Russia conflict

Retired senior US military pilots are increasingly alarmed that Hillary Clinton’s proposal for “no-fly zones” in Syria could lead to a military confrontation with Russia that could escalate to levels that were previously unthinkable in the post-cold war world.

[...]

“If she is not politically posturing, it’s going to be a disaster. I hope it’s political posturing,” said John Kuehn, a retired navy officer who flew no-fly zone missions over Bosnia and Iraq. Kuehn who called denying an adversary its airspace “the c##ocktail party military application of power of choice”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/25/hillary-clinton-syria-no-fly-zones-russia-us-war

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@OldEngineer @Donnie_Pinko 

And yet, this 'experienced' person favors an extremely dangerous and reckless strategy in Syria with likely far-reaching consequences. 

If this person is so grown up, I'd hate to see childish.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@OldEngineer @Donnie_Pinko @Here's_to_Blue 

Anything to deflect from the issue at hand, which is Syria. 

How convenient the 'Trump' dodge for you. 

Whatever will you do in two weeks without the Trump deflection to avoid facing problematic issues?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Good. I would chip in a few bucks as well to fly him home. 

~~~@td1234 


Td is the type who hangs around here all day pretending to not be a racist and that he is a loving christian, don't make me puke td.  According to you and the other swamp monsters, the President's home is Kenya.  As I stated last night there is nothing moderate about you or the other bigots that currently are running and who want to run the Republican party and with that being said there is no reason for me or any other minority to vote for you unless they just have a self hatred of self.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Talk about Boy in a Bubble, the Syria strategy that is favored by the person almost certain to take office as president next January. 

Potentially disastrous. 

I'm amazed that none of her supporters appear to be much interested in it, considering that avoiding war could well hinge on whether it's attempted.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Donnie_Pinko Yes WWIII Shortly after she is inagurated


We have heard all this before.


Doomsday prediction saved for future reference. Entry # 1

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

In 1973, New York City school teacher Annette Gandy Fortt was looking for a decent place to live. A listing for an apartment in a building owned by Donald Trump's father, Fred, caught her eye — but she says the super told her there were no units available.


"I was black," Fortt said recently. "I was not wanted."


It wasn't just a gut feeling. After Fortt was turned away from the Queens apartment building twice, the New York City Human Rights Commission sent a white person to the property to apply for an apartment — and the tester was offered the apartment, according to court papers.


http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/not-wanted-black-applicants-rejected-trump-housing-speak-out-n671966


The apple didnt fall far from the tree did it ?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Hedley_Lammar  Where's he been for the last 43 years?  Ever wonder why folks come out with tales like this, after so long, with such impeccable timing, to boot?

TBS
TBS

That's different

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@DownInAlbany @Hedley_Lammar  I'm sure they are just making all this up


Probably just a big coincidence that the Trumps we sued for civil rights violations too


Hey, They may have known Trump was going to run for President one day


RIGGED !!!!

lvg
lvg

So ole Newt thinks Bill's affairs are front page news but Trump blabbering to everyone that he is a a groper and pervert and his prior lawsuits involving rape  is not newsworthy. Interesting perspective by Georgia's top dufus.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

For anyone who is so inclined I ask you to pray for member of my family whom I love very much who is undergoing medical test right now. Thank you.

P S. Please feel no need to respond. Prayer is all

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@MaryElizabethSings You've got our prayers!  In a related occurrence my sister drove home a few weeks ago and did not remember her trip. Later that week she became more disoriented and went to the hospital . They first thought she had had a stroke,but dismissed that. Then a urinary tract infection (interesting that both have many of the same symptoms). They sent her home but the next day she went back;after an MRI, they found a bleeding tumor in her brain. Two days later she had successful surgery. 3 days later she was home! She is still healing,and needs chemo after she heals further, but she is doing as well as she could be doing. 


Keep the faith. Stay positive. Worrying does nothing but wastes energy. Peace!

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Wow, still lots of horse race watching and gloating here.

TBS
TBS

Coming around turn four.. don't fall out now