Young voters who have known nothing but the divisiveness of the U.S. political system are ready to “take back Congress.”
They say they can make the change by swinging things to one side or the other – more liberal … or more conservative.
They are demanding change, and they are correct that change is needed.
They have known nothing but the acrimonious talk on the news, in debates and on social media during their lifetime.
Young voters, though, are not the only ones feeling the country’s divisiveness. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that the U.S. voters tend to agree on one thing – that the nation is divided.
Of thousands polled, 80% said they felt the nation was divided, while only 19% thought it was united. Those results were the same, whether the respondent was Democratic and Republican. That divide is felt whether urban, suburban or rural.
Are we really as polarized as we think? Maybe it’s a matter of perspective. Sure, the nation has been divided in the past. Look at the Civil War, at the riots of the 1960s. Heck, just think about Revolutionary War times. Either you were for England or against. That was a divided time.
And, there were fights all along, with acrimony on both sides spilling into the social medium of the time – thousands of small newspapers – as each side of the political spectrum tried to persuade residents of their superior ideas.
But for as long as our country has endured, so has the idea that divisiveness is incredibly toxic.
President Thomas Jefferson said, “We are all republicans, we are all federalists.” (Note the lower case, as he was not referring to political parties.) Jefferson was trying to bring together his divided nation during his inaugual speech, admonishing citizens to stand and unite.
President Abraham Lincoln was famously quoted as saying, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” He knew a divided nation.
But today’s president doesn’t seem to want to bring together the two political parties for the good of the country. In a presidential interview with CNBC, Donald Trump said “We are a very divided country …” He later added that “Republicans are very much behind me.”
That’s true. A lot of Republicans are, but not all.
Those are not words that bring together voters. Sure, it shores up Trump’s base, but the political parties remain polarized and seem to be moving father apart.
At this point in time, it doesn’t seem that we can assume that the extremists in both parties want anything to do with compromise.
And, let’s face it, the system – our Congress and system of laws – only works with compromise.
In the days when local Congressman J.J. Pickle represented Hays County, he required that his bills have co-sponsors from “across the aisle.” Those were the days of compromise, of trying to save Social Security, to help constituents, to adequately support the military without going overboard. Not everyone agreed with Pickle, but he was known for his ability to work out compromises.
But since the 1980s, politics have simply become more and more divided. Young voters of today were born in the 1980s or later. They have only known a divided country.
So, if they take over Congress, do they have the abilities to bring this nation together?
Do they even want to?
Let’s hope they do, because we can’t stand this much longer, and if voters in both parties keep supporting candidates in the extreme sides, we can’t come together.
There’s an old thought that if two brothers are fighting, then an evil man can come in and attack the mother.
We are setting ourselves up for attack – as proven by the Russian hacks who are fueling the divisiveness.
Compromise and moderation are needed. Now.