Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

THE 2010 SPLIT

To me, the most significant outcome of the past mid-term elections was how it split the country along ideological lines. There has always been substantial differences between the Democrats and the Republicans, but nothing as pronounced as what we are witnessing today. I remember the sharp differences of LBJ versus Goldwater in 1964, Nixon and Humphrey in 1968, and Reagan/Carter in 1980, but I do not remember a time in our our history where the people have been so bitterly divided in terms of how the country should be run. The differences between the two are often described as the "Haves versus the Have Nots" or "Givers versus Takers," but more precisely, the two sides can be distinguished by the following attributes:

THE LEFT

THE RIGHT

Wants big government representing totalitarian control whereby the state regulates everything, a sort of "Big Brother" mentality.

Wants government flattened with less regulation thereby encouraging personal initiative and responsibility.

Sees themselves as intellectuals who openly contest the status quo, including socioeconomic policies, religion, morality and sexuality.

Sees themselves as law abiding patriots who believe in the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution. They are more steeped in customs and morality with a deeper rooted belief in God.

Considered more politically correct and more permissive in nature.

Considered more disciplined and unbending in principles.
Over the years, the pendulum has swung back and forth grudgingly, but for some reason it has turned quite bitter. I can only surmise it is because our political consciousness has risen to new heights as evidenced by the record voting turnout in this past mid-term election. The reason for the rise is twofold: first, because people have become more aware of how government impacts their personal lives (plus it also makes for good theater), and; second, enhanced and accelerated use of technology which now reaches every corner of our society. Regardless if we have an opinion or not, media spin doctors now have access to the public's ears and is more than willing to tell them how to think and act.
Campaign discourse has become bitter and divisive. To illustrate, for all of Richard Nixon's problems, the 1960 presidential contest was much more cordial than by today's standards. I remember a Nixon interview years later when he discussed his relation with JFK. True, there were substantial differences between the two, but they both respected each other. So much so, it wasn't unusual for Nixon and his wife Pat to have dinner at the White House with JFK and Jackie.
The ideological split today is so pronounced it is becoming much more difficult to find what was once called "moderates" who are now being forced to choose sides, left or right. As the two sides become larger and more confrontational, we run the risk of igniting a social tinderbox which could explode into anarchy. The resulting violence which would ensue could make the 1960's seem mild by comparison.
The real battleground though is for the hearts and minds of our youth who, like always, determines our future. Whereas the Left makes extensive use of the media and our educational system to sway youth, the Right counts on family values and organized religion. Whoever captures the fancy of our youth will dictate which ideological side this country will embrace.
The country is so split, I do not see anyone on either side capable of holding the two together. Are we on a path of self-destruction? Let's hope not. More likely though, the states will begin to flex their sovereignty as in the case of Arizona's recent immigration bill which resulted in other states, particularly California, establishing an embargo on Arizona products and services thereby attempting to force them to revoke their legislation. Such tactics establish a dangerous precedence in the country. If such tactics become commonplace, watch for citizens to migrate to those states they relate to ideologically. What's next, checkpoints on state borders? Don't laugh. It is not as absurd a concept as you might think.
The point is, our country is split and if we are not careful we will cease to cooperate and function as a union and we will have become what is commonly called "Has Beens," something all red-blooded Americans should find repulsive.
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.
Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.
Tune into Tim's THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.