Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Divided States of America?

Since the 2000 election resulted in the blue states vs red states map, things have not gotten any better.  The division of the United States continues.  Christian and conservatives are leaving the red states in droves - and California in particular. We are quite simply no longer one country. Politically and geographically, there are very few moderates.

There are two, very different nations. One believes in Religious freedom, the other does not. One believes in the Bill of Rights - the other does not believe in freedom of speech or 2nd Amendment rights (and is questionable in its' support of many others). One believes that the Constitution is important, the other believes that judges should completely ignore what it says so that they can rule in the way they want. One believes in personal freedom - the other believes the government should take care of everyone and control their lives in any way government wants.

Political division is nothing new - but this division is not just political, it is geographic. It's not just political - it's Constitutional. Never before has a whole political party treated the Constitution like it is written on toilet paper. We have only been this divided once before: During the decade before the Civil War.

I'm certainly not the only person to express concern about the division in out nation leading to a disaster in our nation.  Slate magazine - not exactly a right wing rag - carried an article suggesting that the US may very well split into two nations.  The cause?  Religion.  There are still other issues that drastically divide us - and this article based on a long article un Tufts Magazine identifies 11 different cultural areas that divide us.

Looking at the map (and reading about the groups) - The greatest division is between the Eastern areas of the Yankeedom and New Netherland - and the Left Coast.  These areas are quite left of center and largely secular.  The entire rest of the nation is largely religious and conservative.  To be sure, there are areas with that are secular and progressive, but most of the counties outside the Northeast and the coast are conservative and religious.  While these divisions have always existed, these two areas are growing further and further apart. 

Suspicion that one side or the other will may some extra-constitutional move is growing on both the right and the left.  While I do not think this is going to happen, there are some things I find very troubling.  There have been too many reports that high ranking military officers are being asked, "Would you order those under your command to fire on American citizens?" for there to be nothing behind it.  The number of executive orders - and more importantly the scope - of executive orders issued by Pres. Obama should concern everyone.  The outrage over the agreement with Iran - passed over the overwhelming objection of both the American people and their elected representatives is much greater than the news media has reported.  Again, the outrage is much greater in the red states.

Worse yet, many on the left - particularly those who live on the Left Coast or the urban Northeast - simply do not understand that many in the rest of the country would be quite willing to fight should the federal government infringe upon religious freedom or gun rights (as in partial or complete confiscation - not something less like expanded background checks).   When the president of the United States calls for UK or Australian style gun control - and calls it reasonable and "common sense" - it reveals just how much he is out of touch.  Gun owners know that both of these nations have confiscated millions of firearms, in actions that clearly would be unconstitutional here.  In fact, the UK has the most restrictive gun laws in the EU!  If any president was stupid enough to attempt to take such action, the result would be civil war.  Entire states, including their state governments, would resist with force.  They would not do so because they love guns, but because they would see this as only the first step towards a totalitarian government.  The fact that most people on the coasts or the Northeast have no clue that the president's suggestions clearly violate the Bill of Rights or the disaster that would result if he got his way - is absolutely frightening.

No nation can long survive if it is as divided as we are.  We either must find something to unite around, or this nation faces a very real danger of falling apart - or worse.  That rallying point should be the Constitution.  Even though both sides object strongly to some rights protected by it - such as the right to own and carry firearms, or the right to have an abortion, it is the Constitution that holds us together, provides the system for debating and resolving disagreements.  Either we must stop talking about doing things that violate that critically important document, and start respecting it - or we will soon cease to exist as a nation.  It really is up to us.

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