Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Greater Divide

The Greater Divide
by Michael Maynard
January 4, 2012

The political and current affairs punditry has tried over time to convince us that there are two Americas:

Male Establishment vs. Females
White vs. Black
North vs. South
White vs. Black vs Brown (Hispanic)
Christians vs. Heathens
Hippies vs. Squares
Mods vs. The Establishment
Republicans vs. Democrats
Red States vs. Blue States
Conservatism vs. Liberalism
and most recently, The 1% vs. the 99%

All epic cultural divisions. All remain unresolved. But, the 2012 Presidential election process is showing that we’re becoming increasingly fragmented as a nation as a result of the non-resolution of these divisions. At the core, the question really is “What kind of nation are we?”.

Do we, like most other industrial nations, provide a social safety net? Or do we let the poor and the disfranchised fend for themselves?

Do we continue to act as the world’s “policeman”? Or do we become isolationist and let the rest of the world deal with their own issues, such as mass killings and starvation?

Do we insist that all social behavior must follow an unspecified Judeo-Christian ideal? Or do we recognize and embrace cultural, gender and religious diversity?

Do we turn to the federal government to resolve gross injustices and irreconcilable disputes? Or leave it up to the individuals to resolve, by any means necessary?

Do we continue to embrace the idea of “send us your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses” and we will provide them a home and opportunity? Or turn them away because we “can’t afford” them anymore?

Do only the rich rule or do we have a government representative of people from all walks of life - “of the people, by the people and for the people”?

Do we still embrace the idea of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Or is this only available to those who can afford them?

The 2012 primary process and federal government election is about all of the above. The candidates involved represent both sides of the issues above.

I am a social progressive, a political liberal, and a member of the 99%. I truly resent being told how I should live my life by those whose live their lives no better, or in some cases, much worse.

I am a Christian, but I also embrace other religions. All paths lead to our creator.

I am the grandson of an Italian immigrant who left his life behind to come to the land of opportunity and freedom. I want others who want this opportunity to come to our country and be part of strength, our cultural melting pot. I am willing to contribute my time, effort and money to help those who cannot help themselves or trying to do so. And I’m proud to be part of the country that does this willingly.

But I am not part of the hatefulness that is creeping throughout our country. Shoot the Mexicans who are trying to enter the country illegally. Deport them because they are taking jobs away from "real Americans". Deny women the right to control their reproductive organs and go back to the days of the coat hanger wielder in the alley. Force women back to being barefoot and pregnant. Let the poor and the elderly fend for themselves. Keep a greater, but small, percentage of income to spend by eliminating Social Security - the social safety net so many depend upon.

No, I don’t belong to that country and I don’t want to. It’s my right to leave and I will, when I can no longer tolerate living in the moral dictatorship that we easily can become. The teachings of Christ, Buddha and Mohammed guide me on how to live my life, not bombastic, sanctimonious politicians.

There is a greater divide in this country than there ever has been before because of an epidemic of intolerance and greed. When you vote in November, it may well become a choice of which side you’re on.

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