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Old 10-11-2011, 10:47 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,247,266 times
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I'm only 47 years old, but I have seen (in my opinion) the United States becoming more and more polarized.

It seems that there are two "camps" in America:

The first group are those who many label Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, and Socialists. These are people who want the government to have as big a role as possible in everyday life, want to take from those that have and give to those that have not, want a tolerance for all people (whether a majority population considers those individual's behaviors "normal" or not), and wants to teardown mainstream society so that there are no "norms" other than what the government can legislate as your freedoms, regardless of the Constitution.

The second group are those that are labeled Republicans, Conservatives, Traditionalists, Neocons, and Evangelicals. These are people that want to preserve their way of life at the cost of individual freedoms, want a society that borders on theocracy, uses Christianity as the basis for every decision (and expect others, regardless of religion, to accept their word on faith), blindly put corporations and the rich at the pinnacle of society, and use the Constitution as a finalized product or shield, and not the living document in which it was intended.

I have spun both these political beliefs in a negative fashion, but I could have just as easily spoken positively about both, as well. That is because I believe it is these negative views that are tearing the nation apart, not the positive ones. I will also openly admit that I lean more towards one side than the other, but have tried to appear neutral for the purpose of the question.

Because of these two polarized political factions, I think they are using legislation, smears, and outright lies to get people to polarize and join their causes. And, I do believe they are succeeding.

So, this all goes to my question (in the subject line), with America as polarized as it is, and the increasing polarization that happens every day, do you believe we are headed towards another civil war? If so, what can we do to prevent it? If not, why not (do you disagree we're more polarized as a nation now than we have been in recent times (last 100 years)?
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Native Floridian, USA
4,896 posts, read 5,867,686 times
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I think so unless we can find someone who can bring this country together again, which may be near impossible. I also believe because of the stress people are under with the economic situation, the illegal immigration problem is going to explode, I am afraid. If only the government would be more proactive and receptive to the way most people feel, it would go a long way toward averting a problem...

I think most people in America are what we would term "middle Americans". They don't lean too far either way, vote the issues and when times are good, are very generous and forgiving. They are being pushed to the brink on many fronts though and that is going to be the problem...they seems to be no connect in Washington with "middle Americans" and I am afraid someone is going to go over the edge...we are already seeing more violence in families, people going "postal" at their homes or workplaces or in the general public.

The governments take will just be to label them "terrorists" as they did with the tea party, instead of listening to their complaints. Now, they are all up around the WS protesters and they are a bunch of idiots.....
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,022 posts, read 16,951,926 times
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I agree that we are a very polarized country - it would be hard to disagree! But I don't see it leading to a civil war. One reason is that too many people have skin in the game to want to upset the apple cart with armed violence. As bad as the present unemployment problem is, most people still have jobs. The fringe groups of wackos (militias, white supremacists, various revoluntionaries, etc.) have always been with us, but the tradition of adherence to the chain of command in the military has been so firmly entrenched for so long that I don't see the possibility for anything more than very localized unrest.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:21 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,583 posts, read 11,772,509 times
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Americans are becoming polarized and there is less civility and tolerance in the public debate of national politics and priorities.

The will be no civil war over it because this mean spirited antagonism manifests itself online on the internet, or perhaps on a few biased partisan radio talk shows; when people of opposing points of views confront one another in person suddenly the bitter name calling diminishes and there is a little more respect for what the other person has to say.

Unfortunately when people are given anonymity they can rant and rave all they want.

I do not think the majority of conservatives and evangelicals demand the US become a theocracy, nor do they want to put corporations and the very rich at the pinnacle of society.

I do not believe liberals and progressives want government to control our every day lives nor do they want to tear down mainstream society.

People can be passionate about "hot button" issues like universal health care, abortion, labor unions, taxes, same-sex marriage ... but I don't think they will go to war over it.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,118,711 times
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Nope.
You'll never see a lone protestor standing in front of a tank in any square in this country...
most are too willing to 'go along to get along' or put their faith in a Party or an elected Saviour who will stop all this madness, then go home and watch Survivor or listen to Rush, positive that they have 'done something'. Most have no conception of basic macro or micro economics, they believe whatever their favorite talking head tells them to believe, and never read or research to find out what THEY stand for. The Tea Party turned to bought-and-paid-for shills for their leadership, that defused them and their anger, and so will every other protest group, right or wrong, passionate or pretending. They permit themselves to be herded from political pillar to post simply because it is too much trouble to think for themselves. By the time most of them truly awaken, there will be too few of them left to raise an army, much less to do battle; they will be hungry and cold and homeless and wondering why.
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,022 posts, read 16,951,926 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
Nope.
You'll never see a lone protestor standing in front of a tank in any square in this country...
most are too willing to 'go along to get along' or put their faith in a Party or an elected Saviour who will stop all this madness, then go home and watch Survivor or listen to Rush, positive that they have 'done something'. Most have no conception of basic macro or micro economics, they believe whatever their favorite talking head tells them to believe, and never read or research to find out what THEY stand for. The Tea Party turned to bought-and-paid-for shills for their leadership, that defused them and their anger, and so will every other protest group, right or wrong, passionate or pretending. They permit themselves to be herded from political pillar to post simply because it is too much trouble to think for themselves. By the time most of them truly awaken, there will be too few of them left to raise an army, much less to do battle; they will be hungry and cold and homeless and wondering why.
I draw the exact opposite conclusion from your final sentence; people who are hungry, cold, and homeless would be much more likely to "do battle". After all, what do they have to lose? You have your home and land that you could lose and I'll bet you would think twice before putting those at risk.

Second, you imply that people who can think for themselves would choose civil war. I reject that non-sequitur. People who can think for themselves do not all come to an identical conclusion.

Third, you seem to be saying that civil war would be a good thing, something to be welcomed, although you do not state that explicitly. If my reading of your meaning is correct, then I would ask what faith you can have that the "right" side would win? (If my reading is not correct, then I would welcome your correction, of course.) "Your" side could lose and things might be worse than the status quo ante. Plus there's the issue of the enormous death, destruction, and suffering which would accompany any civil war. It seems to me that cost is not something to be lightly accepted. Just considering, for example, the U.S., Spanish, and Russian civil wars, the costs were sobering, to use an understatement. You know the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for..."
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:33 AM
 
3,286 posts, read 4,606,040 times
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Some exceptions: the conservatives want the U.S. government to have a BIG role in legislating morality and sexual / gender behavior, and in prohibiting gambling.

Also, the religious right is adamant that people do not contribute to global warming. I saw Rev. Pat Robertson allude to this on "the 700 Club" this week. They apparently deem as misguided or foolish, anyone who encourages conservation or green living for reasons of climate-control.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:39 AM
 
Location: NJ
15,912 posts, read 10,965,840 times
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Default dust on the horizon

Not enough opposition to generate a fight. sides would be lopsided and therefore a non starter.

The socialists are using the old trick of dragging tree branches behind their horses to make it apear there are more of them than actually exist.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:48 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,247,266 times
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In a side note to this, my daughter is in the marching band in high school. Last night, my wife and I showed up a little early to pick her up, and decided to walk to the bleachers and watch them. I was very disappointed in what I saw.

When the teachers (there were multiple teachers there, from both middle schools that feed the high school as well as the high school band teacher himself). And no matter what they (the teachers said), there was a large majority of students who did what they wanted to anyway. For example, if the teacher said: "Take it from here to here, that should be no more than 8 steps, then stop." Most would take a LOT more steps. This isn't kindergarten where they couldn't count, and we're 6 weeks of practice into the routines, not 6 hours. And, when the students stopped, they would immediately start talking amongst themselves regardless of how hard the teachers tried to get them to stop talking.

Overheard quite often was: "You can't tell me what to do, you're not my mother/father!" or "Don't tell me what to do!" or the best we heard: "Don't talk to me that way, you have to respect me!"

Later on the way home, I was asking my daughter about respect. I asked her what the kids her age are thinking when they say things like that. She said that many of them feel like they have to get respect before they give it; to which I replied, "well, if two kids are talking and feel like they have to get respect before they give it, how do you break the stalemate?" She thought for a while and said: "I don't know."

I have tried to raise my three kids to respect authority (adults, teachers, law enforcement, etc.). Have had told them that they have to normally give something before they get something back. That is what I was taught by my mother, and most of my friends were taught the same thing. But that is obviously not the mindset of all adults today, and definitely not the thoughts of most of those kids I saw on the field last night.

I guess the point I'm trying to make to tie this in with my topic is that if we aren't teaching other generations to give respect to everyone first (not that they will deserve it forever), and to respect appropriate authorities, how are they going to deal with the issues that we deal with as adults that are leading our country (in my opinion) down a path I'm not sure how we'll recover from? If we're not teaching them common courtesy, giving respect before it's received, and other crucial social skills, we may well be dooming our own future and the society that we're raising without those skills.
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Florida -
8,239 posts, read 10,002,985 times
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I agree that we are incredibly polarized in this country ... with the 'vocal groups' absolutely opposed to even listening to each other, much less to any form of compromise. Sadly, the world (or at least our politicians and media) seem totally focused on assigning 'blame' than on finding a way to actually lead us out of the mess we are in.

While this may lead to random acts of anarchy (eg; Wall Street protests), I doubt that it will lead to civil war because these 'vocal few' primarily represent almost a 'lunatic fringe' of opposing beliefs (probably the proverbial 20%/80% split). Most of us are simply seeking ways to live our lives with some degree of dignity, feed our families, enjoy the freedoms bought in blood by our ancestors and worship God without interference...(including the 'right' of a vocal minority to protest as loudly as they wish). America is far from perfect, but, thank God, we enjoy the unique freedoms of Americans.

"This too shall pass" - Just like the great depression, multiple wars, the 60's and other times of change and upheaval, I believe that America will survive and that we will emerge from these times with greater resiliance and strength. Unfortunately, many will suffer along the way... while self-serving politicians and a pandering media wander aimlessly in their own self-imposed darkness.
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