The Divided States of America

I just watched a video of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, and others voicing their outrage at President Trump’s ban of immigrants, refugees and travelers from selected Middle Eastern countries.  Other speakers included Lance Lyttle, Managing Director of SeaTac Airport and Port of Seattle Commissioner, Courtney Gregoire.  Their speeches focused upon the people, the families affected who are at SeaTac and the pain they see this Executive Order creating in the lives of many innocent people.  They made many valid points, none disputing the need for high security and vetting of immigrants from the involved countries.

Initially I personally agreed overall with what these individuals had to say.  After watching a later press conference with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, I realized that there are details not being shared in the press: such as the numbers of those detained, why they were detained and for how long.  Without details it is possible to take away a very inflated view of what is going on.  After getting a little more from both sides of the story, I have to say there is much more to be considered than I think much of the polarized press is bringing forward.

I still am not entirely sure what to think about the temporary bans.  I do understand after how loosely immigration has been handled in the U.S. the past couple decades or more, it may take some time to be sure an adequate system of vetting immigrants from high risk countries is in place.  I am sure that the U.S. has been involved with rendering these countries unlivable for a lot of people and has an inherent responsibility to be involved with assistance and reparations.

What I also realized while watching the video of the press conference regarding SeaTac airport, is that there were references to “our country” and “this country” as if whoever was speaking was vocalizing the sentiment of the general population of the United States.  Right now our nation is so fragmented in our perceptions of what the problems are and how to remedy them that I venture rarely, if ever, can anyone actually take a position and claim to be speaking for “our country”.  Doing so is actually risking being quite presumptuous and misleading.  As a nation, it seems the issues of what our national values are and how they apply to our practical reality are very much up in the air.

As a generalization, it certainly appears the various geographically, economically disparate segments of the population are very much out of touch with each other.  We’re fragmented so badly it is difficult to recognize that this is supposed to be a “united” group of states.  Donald Trump didn’t create this fragmentation.  In the long run will his policies and actions work to remedy it or exacerbate it?  This remains to be seen, but he didn’t create it.

This fragmentation has come about from a variety of contributing factors.  One of these factors which has played a large role in creating the divisions and dissatisfaction within the U.S. population is decades of “business as usual” politics.  Decades of individuals and relatively small groups within the U.S. seeking and acquiring inordinate wealth and power while only valuing and serving their own special agendas.  In light of this reality I have to say I have serious reservations about Donald Trump’s actions serving to correct this underlying condition.  Is there a Donald Trump the public servant who can adequately differentiate himself from Donald Trump the financial profiteer?  Will Donald Trump be able to recognize the need for and wisdom of supporting and strengthening the established social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, which greatly contribute to a stable, healthy citizenry?  Will he be able to envision ways to ensure needed services such as quality healthcare and education are kept affordable and available to the general population?

Combined with the growing acquisition of power on the part of a relatively small group of extravagantly wealthy individuals, the individuals who hold the high elected offices within our government who we empower to be serving “us” as a whole, have been incrementally opting out of the role of representing the whole of the population.  This has been taking place over the same decades that power has been incrementally acquired by the extravagantly wealthy.  There is much information, evidence, truth behind all the statements going on that our elected officials/representatives have been bought.  We have allowed becoming a President, Senator or Representative to become a career much more akin to private enterprise than public service.  One that not only allows but encourages individuals to capitalize upon their influence and rake in exorbitant wealth for doing so.  We have allowed an unhealthy peer culture to establish itself in the halls of national power.  One that has turned predaceous; feeding upon, pulling apart, the nation it is supposed to be working to preserve.

We, the average citizens, are not going to profit from name calling and engaging in more divisive thinking and rhetoric.  We need to be sitting down together, speaking truthfully, with respect, to one another and listening carefully to what the “other” has to say.  I think by and large we will find there is not a great difference in our motivations, hopes and dreams.  We need to understand how we arrived at this place of perceived and real rifts and disagreements.  Then we can begin to construct remedies that work for most, if not all, of us.

We need to become a citizenry and a regulatory government that think in terms of a national “we”, not just an individual “me”.  And we need to realize that “profit” should not be measured simply in personal material wealth.  The overall well-being of our neighbors, our communities and our nation, including how our nation is seen within the world community, are essential to our personal well-being.   The national well-being is an extremely valuable, essential component of the profit we should all be seeking from our combined efforts.

11 thoughts on “The Divided States of America

  1. I couldn’t agree more. In the USA and here in the UK, society is fractured and splitting at the seams. Nobody seems to be able to see beyond petty differences or the interests of their own caste. I thank you for using the term “citizens” – it has become a rare term in today’s parlance, and with it has gone many of the old ideals of being a good member of the polis, state or community. Whatever happened to Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”?

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    • Thank you very much for your comment. I have done something I try not to do. Occasionally I may revisit past articles and edit them some. However, I just completed some significant changes on this article. I’m notifying you because, as it is changed, you may want to revisit it to see if you still “like” the article. I hope so.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As in any newly elected President we will always ask ourselves all those questions about how well this new President will do

    I’m glad to be asking myself those questions about Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton

    For Trump is a “we”
    And Hillary is a “me”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: The Divided States of America | ugiridharaprasad

  4. Finally, a voice of reason. When did we as a country start viewing different opinions as good or bad, rather than just opinions? The extremism on both sides, but most visibly with the Democrats as they have moved farther left bordering on socialism (I can say that because until the recent election season I was a Democrat – one who feels like the party deserted me and voices of reality everywhere) scares me. Paid violent demonstrators terrify me. It all seems so out of control. When did we stop listening to each other?

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  5. Pingback: The Divided States of America | JUST WRITE IT!

  6. Well said. I have taken the stance that I am not going to engage in arguments. I agree it’s very disconcerting in terms of the divisiveness. I’ve also said that this is not on Trump’s shoulders, but on us all, and it has a long history to it. “We, the average citizens, are not going to profit from name calling and engaging in more divisive thinking and rhetoric. We need to be sitting down together, speaking truthfully, with respect, to one another and listening carefully to what the “other” has to say. I think by and large we will find there is not a great difference in our motivations, hopes and dreams. We need to understand how we arrived at this place of perceived and real rifts and disagreements. Then we can begin to construct remedies that work for most, if not all, of us” Yes and yes!

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  7. I think the main remedy for the world at large is to get back to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” So many people are so worried about themselves (me, my selfie and I) that loving others is an after thought. Thank you for intelligently articulating this sentiment. I think you are spot on.

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  8. I very much enjoyed reading your piece…and it points directly to the very small group of people who hand down their power to younger generations (Former governor Christine Gregoire’s daughter Courtney being the Port Commissioner) foreclosing the ability of “others” to rise to a governing position. Aside from the obvious power, this line of succession is one that promotes (too much) a society that speaks only as a group (i.e. “that is not who we are” when pointing out events or opinions that differ from a party line). It encourages “sameness” – if you don’t “think” the same way we do, we reject you, you are wrong. It does eliminate the “me” for those not in a position of power or money by removing the responsibility of me, thus disposing of the “American dream.” So, when politicians appear and advocate the “American Dream” for people from beyond our borders, the nation as a whole is expected to rally (or protest) that all who come here are entitled to reach for the stars, but, it is antithetical. The burden is carried by the current populace as a whole, a promise “we” made. When I speak about the responsibility of me, I am talking about those citizens who make their way through life, working hard to educate themselves, earn their own living, all without assistance from the government (that “we” ) and never coming in contact with authorities. They strive to make a better life for their children without relying on fellow citizens – the responsibility of me. As the government demands more of me, my children have less and sooner or later will fall into the trap of “we” and become reliant on the government, not by choice, but by necessity….because we’re all the same and that’s “who we are.” The only choice we have is to attack the rich, for surely they have done something wrong – they have the freedom to accept the “responsibility of me” and I no longer do. We need to free the people who are oppressed by the government today, who live in poverty with government “assistance” that keeps them from taking responsibility for themselves and yes, makes them slaves to “we.” We help you, but we give you only enough to live in a dire slum, where gangs control the neighborhoods. In the mean time, the immigrants that the government has invited, will take the jobs needed to lift up those in poverty – the opportunities for the impoverished here at home are foreclosed. When we free the people of impoverished communities and house the homeless, protect our communities and lessen the stranglehold of a government that has inserted itself so far into our lives that they legislate culture, well, then we can begin to think about welcoming others.

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    • I think we agree on some things and disagree on others. I do want to add though that when I write “we” as in the context of this article, the concept I have is of primarily self-sustaining individuals who also keep in mind the essential importance of a viable, healthy culture for all of us, and act accordingly. I totally agree with you that our government seems to have increasingly become a closed circle of people related by blood (or business connections and interests).

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