Origin of polarization in U.S. hard to pinpoint

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

In the chaotic and dysfunctional state of the American political system, perhaps itís appropriate to ask how we arrived at this sad state and when did the collapse begin.

You could travel back in time 60 years or so or you could pinpoint the beginning of this divide as recently as a couple of years ago.

Letís go back to one potential starting point that put us on the path to our current divide.

Following the assassination of President John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson used the opportunity to push through the Great Society which was a major dividing point in American history.

Long before Barack Obamaís push for redistribution, the Great Society did exactly that.

But our current polarization canít be traced to that policy initiative.

There was a major political division when Bill Clinton faced impeachment over his sexual activities in the White House as Democrats circled the wagons to protect their party leader.

Yet, that did not spark todayís divide.

Perhaps our division began with the razor-thin and highly controversial end to the 2000 Presidential election.

Itís easy to trace the widening divide to that outcome. Even today, there are millions within the Democratic party who still believe the Republicans ó through the Supreme Court ó stole that election.

So eight years later ó behind the backdrop of that ďstolenĒ election ó the Democrats offered the most polarizing and controversial President in American history.

It was Barack Obama who clearly promoted that divide to his advantage.

Above all else, Obama was a brilliant liberal ideologue. He employed victimhood and identity politics to push through his progressive agenda.

And after eight years of Republican control in the White House, he emboldened the progressive wing of his party to nudge the nation to the left.

Regardless of exactly when the division began, Obama clearly used the divide to reshape America into the image he had always envisioned.

And then came the election of 2016.

As the polar opposite of Obama, President Trump took over the reins of power in an election result still unimaginable by the Democratic minority.

And to widen the already visible divide, the Democrats to this very day remain adamant that the American voter erred in the ballot box in 2016.

Perhaps itís unimportant to pinpoint the genesis of this polarization. Perhaps itís enough to accept that we are as divided politically and culturally today as at any point in our nationís history.

But someday far into the future when the history of this great nation is written, some scholar will attempt to point a finger at the precise moment we drew the battle lines.

The critical question to ask at this point is just how we bridge this divide and hopefully, once again come together as a nation.

Increasingly that answer remains elusive and perhaps beyond our reach.

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