Dear America: I think it’s time to consider a divorce
I’ve thought long and hard since the election. I have also tried to keep my political views on my page to a minimum, because we all can be mediocre moms regardless of our political views. (I am also trying to build my page at the moment and I don’t really want to unnecessarily alienate potential viewers-yet). But I have had a huge writer’s block since November, and I fear if I don’t put some of my concerns in writing I will never be able to return to the core points of my page regarding mediocrity and motherhood. Of course, it’s not too difficult to see what I believe personally. A cursory look at my own Facebook page would be enough to educate even those with less-than-average intelligence where I stand on the political spectrum. Suffice it to say that my “side” did not “win” in the conventional sense this last election.
But what I am going to discuss today goes deeper than sides or winning, because at this point I don’t think it matters what side you are on to see that America has a huge disconnect problem. There is no middle ground anymore; there is only left and right. There is no grey area; there is only black and white.
A little over ten years ago I took a rather involved online test that allegedly determined where you were on the political spectrum. Unsurprisingly I was labeled a “centrist”. At the time, it made sense. I was socially quite liberal but more on the conservative side fiscally. I wonder what would happen if I could locate and take that same test today. I don’t think my beliefs and opinions have changed that much, but our political climate has been decimated. I don’t think there are any centrists anymore, and even if there were they would flounder as politicians or drown in a sea of angry arguments in a social setting.
What happened in that decade? Did people’s views really shift to one side or the other? As more and more one-sided politicians came into power, it seemed that less and less people were willing to compromise, let alone admit that the other side might have valid opinions, beliefs, or perceptions. Instead, we slid into an “us” versus “them” mentality, and look what it has cost us. Despite my negative feelings on some days, I can’t believe that every Trump supporter I know is a horrible racist, misogynist, or bigot. They should at least concede that they may have overlooked those flaws in Trump because they intensely disliked Clinton, but I refuse to believe that sixty million people are like that. Instead, I think they made their choices on what I term “hot button issues”. These are those issues that are intensely personal to them, and that, for whatever reason, were elevated to such a point that it led them to vote for their candidate, regardless of his or her other flaws. The problem is, it is these same hot button issues that tend to have no middle ground, no room for compromise, and no place for concession. These hot button issues are what I believe in family law we would term “irreconcilable differences”, and in any other situation would be grounds for divorce. I think America needs to start contemplating this route.
Hot button issue number one is abortion. There is no halfway point on this that will satisfy everyone. To be sure, there are plenty of people like myself, who are not terribly keen about the idea but nonetheless believe that the choice belongs in the hand of the pregnant couple and not the government. Having gone through one terrible pregnancy myself and almost died, I would a) never want to force anyone to carry this burden and b) understand that many defects and anomalies are only detected in the second trimester. It is these women that I seek to protect, even though I can understand the feelings of anti-abortionists after seeing the many ultrasounds of my children. The real conundrum enters when the reasoning behind many anti-abortion activists is thrown in. From their perspective, life begins at conception. Under this opinion, no week cut-off, no restriction, and no prohibition is going to be satisfactory other than a total ban. How do you reckon with two sides, one of which believes there should be none and one of which believes there should be at least some allowed? The answer is you can’t.
A similar problem can be had in hot button issue number two, the environment (aka climate change). Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and against all common sense (would it not be fair to assume that our activities have at least some influence on the planet?), a sizable part of the population and the politicians that represent them believe that climate change is a hoax. There is a broader discrepancy in that the naysayers tend to distrust science in general, but even simply just focusing on the environment the divide is vast. The underlying considerations of this issue deal with whether environmental regulations hurt business growth. This consideration does have a middle ground where compromises could be possible but you can’t even get to the table to mediate when one side completely denies the facts that climate change exists. This puts us in another no-win situation.
Hot button issue number three has less to do with environmental factors and more to do with humanity. In particular, LGBTQ rights are another no-win situation, because there really is no middle ground to those that oppose them. These opponents believe that their personal morality and beliefs compel them to shun and resist homosexual rights, even when these rights do not really personally affect them. They are diametrically opposed to defining marriage as anything other than one man and one woman, and all the rights that flow from the definition. Again, there is no moral grey zone here, at least to those who hold these beliefs. Society, in their mind, cannot afford some rights to LGBTQ individuals, because even affording some rights give legitimacy to a view they completely oppose.
All three of the hot button issues above correlate in some way to the fourth and final hot button issue, religion. When you have a large percentage of the population base their ideals, beliefs, and motivations entirely on their religion, it is bound to cause nothing but difficulties. This is the “problem”, for lack of a better term, with a significant portion of America’s populace. Their entire perception of issues is not based upon facts and statistics but upon an unproven entity. Of course, not all religious people shun facts. Plenty of people practice religion, but they are more likely to see it at as guidepost and not as a rigid ultimatum.
The problem with those others who see religion as an unwavering dogma is that it permeates to every other issue facing America today. Abortion to them is immoral and illegal because God made life at conception. Climate change is not real because God made the Earth and he will take care of it. LGBTQ citizens should not be afforded marital rights because God commanded that homosexuality is a sin. You can see the theme here: in some way, God created it, destroyed it, made it, built it, commended it, or disapproved it. You cannot argue with these people because their belief system is not rooted in facts. In their mind, humanity has no free will and the problems that have been created will be, or should be, taken care of by God. The end result is that there is no compromise on this issue, because in the minds of the religiously fervent there is nothing to be “done” except wait for God’s commands. In fact, it is even worse than a compromise because these people are so rooted in their belief system that they believe it should permeate and penetrate all secular avenues of life, including government and education, all under the heading of “religious freedom”.
In any event, these four issues, more so than any other, have created a divide in America so great and so vast that I have sincere doubts about any possible compromises or reconciliations. I am not sure what the immediate solution is; in other articles I have seen authors acknowledge that any dissolution of America would be messy because even in states that heavily lean towards one side or the other, there are pockets of various populaces whose opinions fall on the opposite side of the divide. But I can be certain about one thing. We will have no movement if we maintain our current heading. Each time the other side “wins”, it will first and foremost set out to undo what was done the previous administration. Every step forward will be met with two steps back, all under the guise of it being the will of the people. The truth, however, is that each time, it will only be the will of half of the people, because we have come to a place where each side’s opinions are so diametrically opposed to the other that every gain will be, at least in their minds, a loss for someone else.
We have therefore, in my mind at least, reached the end of the road. We have gone as far as we can together. I think the time has come to acknowledge that we have deep irreconcilable differences that cannot, and are not, going to change. It is now time for America to make some tough decisions and decide if it is worth it to continue the bitter in-fighting and acrimonious debates, of if we have become so hostile, so estranged, and so antagonistic, that perhaps a divorce of sides, however painful, would be best for all of the people involved.
I am mediocre mom!
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