• author
    • Kelvin Wade

    • January 7, 2016 in Columnists

    In search of the united states

    There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.John Adams Letter to Jonathan Jackson, October 1780.

    Adams’ fears have been realized. Our two party system, a system mentioned nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, has served to poison compromise and cooperation throughout our history but has reached it’s zenith, or should I say nadir, now. Parties invite and nurture absolutism and the evidence of its evil is seen in our dysfunction.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine you’re stranded on an island with a total stranger. You’d have to figure out how to build a shelter from the elements, build a fire, find food, make an area for waste and figure out a signaling system for planes and ships. What are the odds that you’d disagree with every suggestion the stranger made? What are the odds that he or she would object to every single suggestion you offered? Judging by how well local communities come together after terrorist attacks and natural disasters, the odds are high that you would be able to cooperate with the stranger on the island to keep both of you alive and signal help.

    Put Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama on an island and they’d starve to death.

    Hyperpartisanship has robbed people of logic, reason, grace and their humanity. This week on “Fox and Friends” Donald Trump commented on President Obama crying while announcing new gun regulations. Trump quipped, “I think he was sincere. I’ll probably go down five points in the polls for saying that.”

    If only fellow Republicans and conservatives could emulate Trump’s humanity. Wait, did I really just say that? Conservative bloggers, bloviators and haters like John McCain’s daughter Meghan dismissed the President’s tears as insincere. Simpleminded ideologues on social media gleefully mocked the president online, probably from the anonymous sanctuary of their mother’s basements across America.

    How morally bankrupt does one have to be to question whether or not someone’s tears over 6-year-olds being shredded by gunfire are genuine? Several conservative bloggers think the president faked the tears. It makes me shudder to think of the kind of person who can’t believe someone would cry over dead children.

    When I think partisanship can sink no lower, miscreants are there to prove me wrong.

    In today’s hyper-partisan U.S., one isn’t allowed to even display their humanity. All motives must be questioned. It’s stunning that it’s Donald Trump that says he believes the president is well-intentioned but he disagrees with the remedy. That’s perfectly okay. That’s the adult response I’d expect from the opposition.

    Here we are in another presidential campaign season and it’s sure to grow nastier by the month. Once again. friends and family members will be at odds and sometimes at each other’s throats literally. There are always news reports of political disagreements leading to violence. On social media, people will lob political barbs back and forth and regurgitate things they saw on a partisan news channel and/or website. Many will claim they hate political posts, but what they really mean is they hate political posts they disagree with.


    The unfriending and blocking will become a sport in the fall of 2016.

    We’ve factionalized the nation into two sides that see everything the other side does as wrong. How can everything the other side believes be wrong? And why are so many people willing to accept their side’s position on issue after issue? What percentage of voters have studied climate change? What do they know about immigration and deportation? What do they know about sequestration? How many understand what’s in the Iran nuclear agreement? How many voters can tell you what the difference is between Sunni and Shia Islam? How many can find Syria on a map? What’s the difference between President Obama on ISIS, Hillary Clinton’s position, and any of the Republican candidates’?

    I’ll wait while you google. That’s what I thought.

    There’s a reason why an organization like No Labels exists. It’s a 501(c)4 social welfare advocacy group made up of conservatives, liberals, moderates, Republicans, Democrats and independents trying to get our government to compromise and solve our problems. It recognizes that it’s the labels that divides us before there’s even a chance at problem solving. No Labels says “just because you disagree about Issue A doesn’t mean you can’t agree about Issue B.” That seems so obvious on the surface but right now, that’s exactly what it means in partisan America. Thinking for oneself is frowned upon in party politics. It’s stunning to me how people adjust their views to mirror their parties. And one of those adjustments is believing the absolute worst about the other side.

    And if the other side is a horrible, dim-witted, reactionary interest group hell-bent on ruining America and aren’t real Americans anyway, then why would anyone want to cooperate and govern with them?

    It’s laughable that America worries about ISIS. Can ISIS shut our government down? Can ISIS default on our debt and crash the world economy? Can ISIS run a corrupt banking scheme with collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps and tank our economy? Did ISIS make our president and Congress hang a sword of Damocles over our defense department in the form of sequestration? And how many Americans have ISIS killed vs. how many Americans have Americans killed?

    There isn’t constructive compromise. There isn’t even constructive criticism between the factions. There’s scapegoating, finger-pointing, exaggerations, invective and flat-out lies. And this hyper-partisanship doesn’t serve the nation. It serves the parties. It serves the status quo. It supports a huge industry of think tanks, radio and television news shapers. It lines the pockets of the well to do and leaves two individuals, who have more in common than they think, wrestling each other distracted from the corporate overlords who really run the country.

    This week my granddaughter joined the United States Army and I’m so proud of her. She’s been working hard to ready herself for the challenges ahead. I know she will give her all to do her job well and stand shoulder to shoulder with others to defend this nation.

    We owe it to her and all of the others to build a country worth defending.

      • Madgew

      • January 7, 2016 at 6:46 am
      • Reply

      Powerful Kelvin.

        • Kelvin

        • January 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you!

    • Right on. This whole “my way or the wrong way (and the wrong way is anyone in the OTHER party)” is destroying the country. The corporations behind the curtain orchestrate this, I believe – dividing the country in half and pitting one side against the other so that we’re distracted and allow them to do whatever the hell they want. And we’re too amped up on adrenaline and blind hatred, we just let them do it.
      The more people who take their piece of that game board, the better.

        • Kelvin

        • January 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm
        • Reply

        It’s scary how easy we take the bait. We had the Tea Party saying government was the problem. We had Occupy Wall Street saying corporations were the problem. If they could’ve gotten together and realized that they were both onto something the powers that be would’ve been quaking in their boots.

      • Richard Atherton

      • January 7, 2016 at 9:30 am
      • Reply

      I’ve seen it happen in the small environment of an airline with 3,200 pilots. As a tactic during pay negotiations, the company would discretely pit groups against each other. Jet pilots vs prop trash. Senior pilots vs junior pilots. West coast vs east coast. They did a wonderful job of dividing the pilot force and distracting them (us) from our original goals of improved work rules and wage increases to match inflation rates. In the end, the company won because of the polarization they quietly created.

        • Kelvin

        • January 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm
        • Reply

        Wow. Great example. Yes, management successfully uses this tactic all the time. We’re so busy fighting amongst ourselves we don’t realize we’re all being screwed.

    • Yes we owe it to her. Thank you for this.

        • Kelvin

        • January 7, 2016 at 3:47 pm
        • Reply

        I was watching all these young recruits…young kids lining up to take the oath to join the Marines and Army and seeing their parents crying and I kept thinking, “Please don’t let them die for something stupid.”

    • About time the was a party for the rest of us. People on the right forget that the reason Ronald Reagan was such a great president was that he knew and acted upon the art of compromise. In politics, that’s how one gets things done. There is absolutely nothing wring with it. Yet you step one toe out of the party platform and you’re called a RINO (Republican In Name Only) or a DINO (Democrat In Name Only).
      The name calling needs to stop. We are adults. It’s about time we acted like them.

        • Kelvin

        • January 7, 2016 at 3:57 pm
        • Reply

        Yes! There’s always been partisanship. People honestly disagree. But we used to still be able to work together to get things done. The Republicans couldn’t stand Bill Clinton but they still worked together to balance the budget. Democrats couldn’t stand George W. Bush but even after the debacle of the 2000 election they still worked together to pass tax cuts, education reform and Medicare part D. I’m really afraid of where hyper partisanship will lead us. We’ve seen countries devolve into bloody conflicts like Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Syria etc… Former neighbors fighting each other. We think it couldn’t happen here. We’re too civilized. The only thing is…it’s already happened here. And it could happen again.

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • January 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm
      • Reply

      Very well said Kelvin. I am so sick of politicians now days. Things need to change.

      • Maya Spier Stiles North

      • January 9, 2016 at 9:58 pm
      • Reply

      We really do agree on most of it. Where we disagree is on how to get there. One of my favorite people ever is an evangelical with 11 children — I adore her. We occasionally tangle, but we agreed on the love long ago and we’re good. <3

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