A Nation Divided

A Nation Divided


Leonard Zwelling

It is both sad and undeniable that the United States and its government are hopelessly divided between two groups. Loosely, these two groups correspond to the two major political parties, but it’s not that simple for it’s really more than two groups.

On the right, the conservative side, sits the Republican Party, but it is really three parties now. There’s the classical pro-business Republicans who are a shrinking minority in the party having been outnumbered and outgunned by the other two groups over the past few years. Then there are the Trumpers who represent a group clinging to the hope of the return of their former leader and who are in denial about the 2020 election. Finally, there are the true fringe of the GOP—the group following QAnon on the Internet and given to conspiracy theories and the hope that John F. Kennedy, Jr. will show up at Dealey Plaza one November 22.

The Democrats are in equal disarray. Again there are the classical moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin, a shrinking minority. There are the activist progressives, AOC and crew, who are really gunning for a form of socialism in the United States. Then there is the Pelosi crew, the vast majority of the House who want to keep passing legislation they haven’t read like the Build Back Better Bill.

The two parties are also split among the states with the coastal blue elite on the Pacific and North Atlantic seaboards and the rest of the country pretty Red, especially the Midwest and South. Can anything bring us together as one nation?

Not likely anytime soon. It’s not like there is really a philosophy of government separating the people, it’s the fact that there are haves and have nots in both parties and the allegiance of certain groups like college educated women is up for grabs. We have become increasingly tribal with very little meaningful discussion happening between the various tribes.

Then you have to factor in the rampant gerrymandering that is favoring the Republicans right now who control more state legislatures and the deep animosity among the groups within and between the parties.

Then there’s leadership or the lack thereof.

For years now we have been split about our support for the President no matter who he is. The last President to really have a big approval rating was George H.W. Bush after the Gulf War and perhaps his son after 9/11—until Iraq. And George Sr. lost his re-election bid anyway when the economy went south and Bill Clinton knew the price of milk and bread and President Bush looked at his watch. Since then the right has hated Bill Clinton, the left made fun of George W. Bush, the right despised Obama and the Dems hated Trump. President Biden was elected to get us back to normalcy, but instead he has mismanaged his way to unpopularity and the pushing of the liberal agenda. What a mess!

It seems that there are only two things that can fix this.

First, we will confront a crisis as a nation that requires our working together as occurred after 9/11. If I had to guess where that might occur, I would say that we may have a tough decision to make if China invades Taiwan as every war game scenario has the US losing to China in a direct confrontation. Iran could create a nuclear weapon and challenge peace in the Middle East. Russia could invade the Ukraine. What is more likely even than that would be a continuing rise in inflation, a contraction of the markets and a real economic crisis.

Second, a new leader will emerge who can galvanize the country behind him or her. Frankly, I don’t see that person on the horizon.

It is more likely that for the rest of my life, the country will be in bitter strife with sequential governments of slim majorities getting nothing done.

I may have this wrong. I hope so. Let me know.

2 thoughts on “A Nation Divided”

  1. Hoping you Do have this wrong, I’ll weigh in…
    China will play the long game with Taiwan- very long – as long as Taiwan doesn’t join an iteration of NATO in the Pacific (I believe there was some organization like that it the past, iirc).
    Iran will keep on their present course, but only so far, as Israel is a nuclear power, as well as a formidable conventional military power.
    Yes, Russia at some point could invade Ukraine, or at least the part of Ukraine that is populated by mostly Russians. It’s their former empire and their backyard. Sanctions, etc but – as John Kennedy said at a staff meeting around 6 weeks before being assasinated, reluctantly agreeing to an escalation in advisors for South Vietnam – “It’s their war – they’re gonna have to fight it.”
    Domestically – having travelled/corresponded with people around the country, I honestly feel there is a new “Silent Majority” who are socially tolerant and fiscally conservative, but are completely ignored by the media. The political establishment wants you to believe these are unpredictable “swing voters”, as if there are tens of millions of capricious fickle individuals going to to the polls every 2-4 years. There aren’t. But if the establishment gets you to believe they’re “unpredictable”, then you’re less likely to realize they (and maybe you?) are in a true silent majority.
    “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers”. – Thomas Pynchon.

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