Political Polarization…

Real Clear Politics has an article today titled The Political Polarization of America.  That article contains the following opening information from a Quinnipiac University poll:

In the latest Quinnipiac University poll, barely 7% of Democrats and an overwhelming 79% of Republicans view Trump favorably – a 72-point gap.  The partisan divide continues when we look at specific traits.  While only 5% of Democrats believe the president is honest, 77% of Republicans do.  While just 8% of Democrats believe he cares about average Americans, 87% of Republicans do.  While 5% of Democrats say he’s level-headed, 66% of Republicans do.

This spotlights the significant divide we have today, probably the greatest divide I have seen in the course of my many years on this earth.

A 60%-40% split used to be significant; that pales by comparison to this split.  The idea that the people who have a professed political identity are split 87% to 8% as to whether or not Trump cares about the average American is absolutely astounding to me.  That moves beyond a simple disagreement about the facts and extends to an emotionally-based hysteria.  There are no facts that can possibly support that divide; it has to be driven by pure emotion powered by fear and/or plain old hatred.

That speaks volumes, ugly volumes, about the state of our America, this melting pot that has welcomed peoples of diverse backgrounds and political opinions since its founding.  It is as if we have drawn a line across America and those of one belief are forbidden from crossing into the land of those with the other belief…except that we all rub elbows with each other day after day.  We work together.  We worship together.  We go to school together.  We bear arms together.

And yet, apparently, we cannot stand the thought that the person next to us might be of the wrong political persuasion…as we, whether in the 8% or 87%, identify just what is the wrong political persuasion.  How do we deal with this divide?  In some instances, discussions of anything political have been banned.  That is true in my church where I should, if I will at all, love my brothers and sisters regardless of their looks, their color, their political beliefs, their favorite sports team, etc.

If we will not try to find a way to soften this impasse, how do we expect to get beyond it?  We must simply be hoping that the passing of time will dull the edges of the disagreement.  Or maybe we think that those of a different persuasion will finally see the light.

As a Wisconsite, I can’t believe there is even an 87% to 8% divide between the Bears and the Packers in our state.  That our current state of politics could fashion an 87% to 8% divide suggests that we have some issues with our issues.  Maybe politics is that one area where there is no reality, only the hyped-up emotional response to good and evil, however it is that we define evil in politics.

We really need to get a grip on reality if we are so polarized over the political debate.  Frankly, while one or the other party is my favorite, I don’t suspect that my non-favorite party is doing all it can to ruin our country.  I don’t get this feeling that I might toss my cookies if I had to associate with the opposition.  I actually know people who voted opposite of the way I did, and we continue to recognize each other, shake hands and even, heaven forbid, enjoy each other’s company.  We don’t talk politics because we know how each other feel about that subject.  But we still talk and we still enjoy the company of the other.

Is this a Trump vs. Clinton thing?  Maybe.  If it is, I have no problem occupying one side of any discussion but I have a significant problem occupying the wrong side as I see it.  Consequently, I tend to avoid those discussions.  If I can’t avoid them, I don’t engage in them and strive to change the subject before I lose my struggle with self trying to avoid the subject.  I know myself well enough that I know I cannot talk politics with anyone opposed to my position since they are deemed to be wrong in my eyes even before the discussion would commence.  But that is only about the subject of political beliefs.  And, I do not brand them as people with whom I cannot associate because I like most of them as individuals.  I also believe they use the same control system that I use because they don’t attempt to open a political discussion with me.

If Quinnipiac University has its stuff straight, I hope none of us from the Badger state participated in the poll.  Maybe this all stems from watching our federal government at work.  I could see such a level of polarization if that were the case, and I share the frustration many must have as the result.  Maybe it comes from a particularly virulent sector of politics.  Frankly, if I were to watch some of the stuff passing for debate, I could retch rather quickly.

Conservatives are, I believe, pretty well-grounded folks, and I don’t know many, if any at all, who would line up like those opinion-staters Quinnipiac University managed to find.  It is good to be conservative.  I don’t know how it is to be liberal so I can’t comment…and hope I’ll never be able to say I’ve had that experience.

I hope those folks that were polled can just chill.  President Trump seems to be doing a good job, so far as our economy seems to be telling us.

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