Fragmenting America

There is something about the polarization of the country on the issue of Donald Trump that I didn’t quite understand.  I know that Mrs. Clinton and many others were in the contest and they all had salient points.  They also had some frightening ideas as well.  The issue is the love/hate position Americans have taken on our elected President.

Thinking about it, this may be generational because I can remember my father, a WWII and Korean War veteran, having problems with Vietnam War protestors and my mom with the decay of the family unit.  My grandparents were never vocal about their views, although I know both grandfathers fought in WWI.  The grandmothers were the supportive types that backed their men to the very end.  It was a matter of National Pride and Unity: Bringing me to my generation and subsequent generations that follow.

I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump nor did I vote for Mrs. Clinton.  I am an independent.  Limiting the presidential debates to two accepted and sanctioned political parties is not representative of my beliefs.  Therefore I am not invested in Mr. Trump.  This is my way of telling the establishment that I am not one of the sheeple.  I am however a firm believer that once the president is elected, he or she deserves the support of the all the American people, not just those who voted for her or him.  Mr. Trump is the president.  That is a fact.  Isn’t this what a representative republic is all about?

No, we are not a Democracy.  You should have learned that in Civics Class.

I saw the beginnings of this during the pre-election feeding-frenzy as anyone with a pen and a petition interested indicated worthiness for the soon to be vacant position of President of the United States (POTUS).  The list was truly staggering and certainly inclusive of fringe elements all of whom at least took a shot at the target.  You can’t say they didn’t try.

As the combatants fell away, and the party selectees emerged, the schism formed between the two front runners.   Contests have supporters, and these two political warriors were no different.   Each had legions of rabid followers who did physical battle during the campaigns.   I found their zeal refreshing after the lackluster performances of past contests.   That is, however, where it ends.   I believe that honest and open discourse is perfectly healthy and necessary, but there is no place for violence.  I don’t much care for the slam ads either, but that is fundamental in American politics.  Since the completion of the electoral process, the slam-ads reached lower levels.  They’ve hit the bottom of the barrel and started digging.

When Mr. Trump was elected POTUS, it was as though the Clinton supporters lost their collective minds, and now a few months into the term, the acerbic assaults increased with renewed fervor.   All manner of insults and accusations fly from the loser’s cadre of loyal followers.   As expected the media stands eagerly by, gas can in hand and fanning the flames, poised to pounce on the latest faux-Pa.  It seems the entire government is involved in the hunt to discredit Mr. Trump.

I have theories, but my interest caused me to poll the opinions of friends, at least those that remain after this battle, and some acquaintance who will be honest and not just spew vitriol.  I posted the question on FaceBook.  So far I received one response citing an anti-Trump editorial in the LA Times.  It was an interesting read, I responded.  I am interested in his view.  I know he is a Clinton supporter, his opinion is important to me, and he is a friend.  There were a few that recommended I remove my head from my ass long enough to read the tableaus and periodicals.  It appears that the media speaks for almost everyone.

Recently I enjoyed dinner with two colleagues, both are younger than I, but then so is the Earth.   One is significantly younger by thirty plus years.  Regardless, I enjoy our conversations especially when I broach a sensitive topic.  I see the variety of backgrounds and educations, and this is why I relish their company.  Both of these men are intelligent; it’s just that the liberal leaning of younger one speaks volumes about the direction of this country and our penchant for adjusting history for our purposes.  The other is closer to my age and well informed.

About Trump and Clinton; let’s just say there is no consensus.  Their insight is what I expect from my friends.   One made an interesting point about False Paradigms in politics.  I think this explains the situation better than any other comment.

I agree that we are living a false political paradigm.  Both combatants used the pulpit to promise the world to their constituents.  Each told their crowds what they wanted to hear and in true sheeple form, they took a deep breath and said, OK.  They were so captivated by the gamesmanship and pandering that they missed the fact that these two combatants are politicians and they lie for a living.  None of this stuff was probable; most of it will never happen.  Working people wanted to hear that our taxes are going down and that they love the military and the country can be great again.  The other side wanted a woman president so badly that they didn’t hear anything Mrs. Clinton said.  She’s a woman, and that was enough.  The black guy got elected twice; it’s the women’s turn, right?   The false paradigm, in this case, is our belief that our votes make a difference.    Popular and electoral votes went to Mr. Trump.  The result was claims of interference and tampering.  In fact, the scrutiny continues as Congress investigates these allegations and digs deeper into these heinous activities.  Congress is digging to find any fact that supports their theories.  There was a posted comment this morning allegedly by President Putin which says… “If we could impact your elections, do you think Obama would have been elected?”

This false paradigm extends into every facet of our lives, as well.

The American dream of owning a home and having children is nearly impossible for most people.  Average wages are near poverty level, and home prices continue to soar.  The financial collapse in 2007 stemmed from the packaging and sale of bad loans as investment grade instruments.  Loans made to people without the means to fulfill them yet offered up to investors as sound.

The push for higher education strips our need for skilled crafts-people encouraging students to seek college credentials thus creating massive debt.  Where do we turn for appliance repair?  Who builds our homes and apartments?  The answer is Guest Workers.  I heard them called “geographically disenfranchised.”  I guess that’s the PC phrase for Illegal Aliens.  That’s who does the work.

How can we possibly support the wave of political refugees?  There are thousands in every large city.  They learn quickly, too.  The most recent is a legal action against a Pizza Chain for selling pork pepperoni.  They insist that the US conform to their legal and cultural systems: and we do.  They want more from our Welfare System: we give it to them.  A recent refugee sued the State for more money so his family could have a nicer and bigger house in a better neighborhood.  The days of adapting to your host country are now over.  OVER!  We now adjust to accommodate the lowest common denominator.  Immigrants used to be excited to become Americans.  Now immigrants want to recreate their former country on American soil.  How many languages are printed on your election ballots?  What number do you dial to hear English?

Knowing this background doesn’t help rationalize the anger and or disappointment.  It doesn’t solve anything at all.  It serves to polarize people and create opposition.  Polar groups succumb to mob mentalities when pushed.  I believe this is what the media does by fueling the political controversy today.   What passes for news is nothing more than interpretation and opinion.  There are a few facts salted in to provide the illusion of honesty and for flavor, but most of the account is media spin.  The message delivery elicits programmed reactions, carefully developed to create controversy and division in the country.  The adage “divide and conquer” applies here.

We have become gullible and complacent.  We fight among ourselves about things that shouldn’t matter because that’s how we’re programmed by the media.  We believe everything we hear. If we disagree with the message we simply shop for an opinion that fits our beliefs and says what we want to hear.  The issue is our inability to process the volume of data into meaningful information.  We are inundated daily with millions of bits of data from thousands of sources.  Each source has a unique format that plays perfectly to our interests and piques our attention.  They have us.  We are sheeple ready to be herded into the flock de jure.  It is nearly impossible to know everything necessary to be well informed.

The source of all this hate and disinformation is the media, but the onus is on us.  We don’t take the time to think things through.  We are too busy to bother.  It is much simpler to listen to the media onslaught than to read and reason.  Our lives run at light speed.  We live glued to electronic conveniences and gadgets that should simplify our day but instead add complexity we cannot fathom.  The next time you’re driving and it is safe to do so, look at the drivers near you.  I’ll bet most of them are on a cell phone.  The millennial driving near you is sending text messages.  Even in your favorite restaurant people are on their cell phones rather than conversing.

We are in the sunset of our culture.  Welcome to the Fragmented American Territories (FAT) pandering to every minor group that demands their individual rights at the expense of everyone else.  I propose a new FAT motto:

“An individual’s needs outweigh the needs of everyone else.”

“It’s all about me!”

It’s our fault for being easily distracted.  We have ADHD – America’s Disinterest in Hard Decisions.

And the big lady with horns on her helmet bows…