2/21/2014

A House Divided... not so much



Abraham Lincoln famously said that "a house divided against itself can not stand", the civil war and the modern divorce rate proves him right.  Of course he was just quoting Jesus so he was on pretty solid footing for his assertion.

I have given quite a bit of thought lately to what really divides the United States these days and have reached the conclusion that we truly are not nearly as divided as it appears.  I'll get into that in a bit but first it must be recognized that political divisions are not necessarily bad, in fact in many ways they are good.  For one thing differing political philosophies actually define choices for the body politic and in the political realm citizens with choices are as a general rule a good thing. What a democracy does is institute these choices into a policy framework for governing, what a republican form of government does is protect the minority view against the "tyranny of the majority," or as Lord Acton put it:
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
Lord Acton by the way was the one who more famously observed that:
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
The problem it seems to me is that in America today we have parties which are not truly defined by their beliefs but rather fraudulent representations of their beliefs. Examples would be that while the Republican Party ostensibly stand for "small government" when in power they actually expand government, IE the Bush years.  Conversely the  Democratic Party which ostensibly stands for the "little guy" instead has become the party of special interest, IE green energy, teacher unions, etc. Both parties talk a good game, but less and less represent We the People.

They get away with this by creating false narratives about issues which misrepresent the reality of the public's actual stance on issues.  Both parties do this but the Democratic Party are the masters of it.  I will take just one important political issue and show how on this issue America is not divided.  Yet a party, in this case the Democrats,  gins up division to maintain a political "edge" by totally misrepresenting the issue.

The issue is voter ID laws.  For years public opinion polls have shown the American public across all political ideologies have supported not only voter ID laws but photo ID's.  Last year just before the presidential election, in a nationwide Washington Post poll they asked this rather unambiguous straight forward question:

Q: In your view, should voters in the United States be required to show official, government-issued photo identification -- such as a driver’s license -- when they cast ballots on Election Day, or shouldn't they have to do this?

By any account an overwhelming number of American's support voter ID laws, in this poll 74% or three quarters of Americans said yes you should have to show a photo ID  to vote.

The Democratic Party whose own voters support this measure, in this poll by a 60-37 percent margin, consistently and as a matter of party policy fight against  voter ID laws. Their reason for opposing the laws is the loosely defined, never proven but divisive claims of voter suppression on the part of Republicans.

One of the ways they do this is by bringing national attention to changes to voter ID laws in Southern states, making it seem as if the sole purpose of these laws is to suppress the black vote.  Besides being a slanderous assertion towards the South in general, they do this despite the fact that a large majority of African Americans actually support photo ID's to vote! In the WAPO poll 65 % of blacks support photo ID. The Democratic Party as a matter of policy ignore the fact that these laws exist nationwide and the first state to enact a strict photo ID was Indiana, not known as a hotbed of segregation.

What the Democratic Party is actually attempting and largely succeeding in doing is equating photo ID's with racism and then pinning the Republican Party as being the racist. Of course this is an absurd and malicious proposition because to be true it would mean that 74% of Americans including 65% of blacks are racist against African Americans.

Just to drive the point home here are a few facts about the voter ID situation in the United States today.  Only 12 states currently require a photo ID to vote with six more states,  having new laws on the books which will require photo id in future elections.  Two of these state's  laws, Mississippi and North Carolina, are being challenged by the US Justice Department.  In addition two other states, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, also have enacted photo ID laws which are being challenged and appealed in state courts. Rhode Island and Alabama have photo ID laws which will go into affect this year.This means that 18 states have passed some form of photo ID laws. These states are as diverse as Georgia and Hawaii and New Hampshire and Texas. These 18 states represent over 40 % of the United States population.

But that is not the complete story.  Currently 30 states require a citizen to provide some form of ID when they vote.  This represents 61% of the population, when the North Carolina, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin cases are upheld, which they will be, just as Indiana's stricter law was, then 71% of Americans will have to show some form of ID to vote.

Interesting isn't it that Alabama which is rated by Gallup as being the most conservative state and Rhode Island rated as one of the most liberal states are both enacting voter photo ID this year.  This, like every other fact,  flies in the face of the Democratic Party's narrative of why voter ID is important.  If some form of voter suppression was the motive, then the vast majority of states are attempting voter suppression against their citizens. States controlled by both Democrats and Republicans.

The question people should be asking is not are we a seriously divided nation, we are.  The more important question is why are we divided and even more important who is dividing us and for what purpose?

There are in fact very few issues where the American people are actually seriously divided.  Or at the very least it can be said that the divisions are not as clear cut as some, for their own political purposes, make them out to be. In other words the problem is not with We The People, the problem is with political entities which stir up division for their own power. Until we recognize this and begin to end it by voting for what we actually believe in rather than what party we belong to, we will continue to be a house divided.

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