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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Is the US unified or divided?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Link the Writer, Sep 13, 2016.

    Something that's crossed my mine recently. Given the political climate in the US today (Trump/Clinton, racial relations, etc.) do you think the US is unified as a country and people, or are they becoming more and more polarized as the years go on? A part of me even theorizes that we're already fighting a second civil war -- only it's one with words, not bullets and artillery like the first one. It's just that every time you turn on the news, it's nothing but bad news and Americans screaming at each other, over each other without trying to come to a solution that works for both parties. It's like we forgot what compromise means and have now dwindled down to black-white thinking and “I'm the good guy, you're the bad guy! I won't hear anything you say because I hate you!” A part of me wonders if we Americans even truly tolerate each other anymore if the news is to be believed.

    What are your thoughts on this? Sorry if I seemed offensive, it was just something that's been floating in my guts and I wanted to get it out.
     
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  2. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Great question, Link, and one I ponder often.

    I won't sit here and lie to you that I wasn't born a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but let's look at straight facts.


    Fact number 1: There exists a large and ever increasing wealth gap. What this means is that there is a very small group of people who own a lot of the nation's resources, and a very large group who own little to nothing.
    We're not talking about a Guassian distribution of wealth here, we're talking about two very distinct groups. One small and rich, the other large and poor. This isn't up for debate. Everyone agrees with this.

    Fact number 2: It is easier for small groups to agree with one another than large groups. This is common sense and I'd be surprised if anyone disagreed.

    Fact number 3: "Divide and conquer" is a real strategy that has been used for thousands of years.

    Fact number 4: The media and mainstream politicians have been focusing largely on bigotry and issues that provoke bigotry. We see this when Trump talks and we see this when the media talks about Trump. When Bernie was running, there was some talk about oligarchy, wealth gaps, and the 0.1 %, but now that Clinton and Trump are left, we've seen a shift back to issues of bigotry. Clinton recently made a speech targeting sexism, racism, and general "hate," and back in February, she actually had a speech where she said that regulating banks would not end sexism and racism. Even you Link, seem often focused on matters of bigotry. I'm not saying that standing against bigotry isn't important, I'm saying that right now, bigotry dominates the political landscape. Can you agree with that?

    Fact number 5: many conservatives are now anti Muslims, anti Mexican, etc.

    Fact number 6: many liberals are anti bigotry, which effectively means anti conservative, which effectively means, anti non coastal white.

    If you look at facts 4, 5, and 6, you'll probably agree that we have many different demographics now fighting against each other. That's basically in your OP. These demographics are not divided by class, but by gender, age, ethnicity, and religion.


    Let me ask you, how does a small group of people maintain a disproportional share of the country's resources and not piss off the large group of people who have little?

    I say, they divide them. And that's why everyone is so obsessed with bigotry. We've been programmed too. And yes, it divides us.
     
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  3. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If that's really the case, she's being absurd. A society that guarantees every person their basic needs so they can live a fulfilling life has to deal with hate and bigotry far less than a society where a small group has a lot and a big group very little.

    Bitterness breeds bigotry, I think. When you feel like someone from the outside is coming to take away something you barely have right now you'll be much more likely to act hostile (unless you're a friggin mother theresa) than if you have enough to share. Bernie had the right idea. He wanted to deal with the uncomfortable and elephantine root cause that cannot be fixed easily, but fixing it is the only way to heal the society. Clinton -- if that really is her approach -- would only be applying band-aid instead of removing the thing that keeps causing the wound. You'll get the leader you deserve, but I'm not convinced it's the leader the world deserves.

    As for unified or divided... You've probably seen how things are in Europe, how the UK appeared to be the Un-United Kingdom after Brexit, so it's possible we're going through the same thing. Opinions become extremely polarized, partially thanks to social media that allows people to have their biases confirmed easily, making even the most ludicrous position seem like a reasonable one.

    It seemed to me Bernie was able to unify people across the board, regardless gender and race, in a battle against the 1%, but I have no idea if that front has disintegrated already. If so, that's sad. If America wants to prove black lives really matter, maybe you should start developing the black communities that struggle under the poverty line. If America wants more women in the workforce, maybe you should make sure there is work to do to begin with, the pay is enough to cover basic living costs, and women have access to the jobs while men aren't forced to always be the breadwinner (support planned parenthood and flexible maternity and paternity leaves). Perhaps it's true you are divided by the secondary causes for unhappiness (racism, bigotry, sexism) as you suggested, so I guess the next question is how to convince people to refocus their anger and frustration.
     
  4. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @KaTrian Great post, will respond soon, but didn't want to leave you hanging.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/clinton-ramps-single-issue-candidate-attack-sanders-n518261

    ""Not everything is about an economic theory, right?" Clinton said, kicking off a long, interactive riff with the crowd at a union hall this afternoon. "If we broke up the big banks tomorrow - and I will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will - would that end racism?"

    "No!" the audience yelled back.

    Clinton continued to list scenarios, asking: "Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?"

    After every question, the crowd emphatically yelled "No!""
     
  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Look, I'm not an economist, a political scientist, or a human rights major, but I am a human being, and I cannot help but feel that end of the day, what people want most is to not be stressed about where they're going to live, about what they're going to eat, about how they're going to be treated when they're sick. Unfortunately, it may be true that not everyone is smart enough to also be stressed out about the future of our planet (environmentalism), but EVERYONE thinks about the immediate needs of their own bodies (food, shelter, health.)

    I can't speak for Brexit, and it's possible that our economic troubles are more profound than just, "it's the .1%'s fault," but the truth is, only the 1% is doing better, everyone else is not...

    So, with these beliefs, it astounds me that Bernie's message wasn't able to resound across the board. I agree bitterness breeds bigotry, and it's possible Americans have to blame themselves partly for getting caught up in secondary causes of unhappiness but I do honestly believe that someday (soon) we're going to look back at the media and say "WOW!" If I say to you, "the media is a powerful, and potentially destructive force," I think that is an underestimation.
     
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  6. Shattered Shields
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    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

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    The media is the greatest evil in the United States.

    It feels pretty damn divided to me, honestly, with the Republicans swinging their stupid haymakers and the Democrats doing what they always do. More than that, it's the people. As a guy who writes online, and a guy who sees much of the internet, I've seen so much hate recently, so many long tirades of insults and illogical rantings. So much hatred on Islam, feminists (and sometimes women in general), transexuals, and liberals in particular.

    And what does this stem from? The media. They don't tell you the news, they sell you an angle.
     
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  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Oh God, don't even get me started. >:[ The media tell you what they want you to hear. If they're biased against Muslims, they'll depict Muslims in a negative light no matter what. The reverse is also true. It's like...all the sides are both right and wrong for a variety of reasons but instead of trying to reach a compromise that'll benefit all, they're too busy going, "It's your fault! You're my enemy!!"
     
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  8. PapaSmurfberry
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    PapaSmurfberry Active Member

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    We are not devided, as much shattered. Divided would imply halved but we have become a country of 290 million individual views.

    We have focused on individuality so much in this country over the last decades, we no longer have any idea of community. We have Pandora playlist instead of local radio stations, we watch Netflix instead of local channels and we got our news from Facebook feeds tailored to what we already believe to be true instead of sources like the AP or NPR. It is the perfect breeding ground for bigotry and prejudice, no one can see passed themselves.

    I think the major Bernie issue that has been silenced by the media distracting us, has been the push towards socialist policies. Something we haven't discussed seriously in this country since FDR.

    On that one issue we seem to be united, we have 2 economic policies capitalism and capitalism lite. It was nice having Bernie around socialist almost ceased being an insult used by the two parties.
     
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  9. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hypocritized.
     
  10. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Well, I'd agree it's always been in the interest of the top few class to talk about other things, so they don't like talking about it. But I don''t think they just "program" you. Especially since I think many middle and even bottom class people are uncomfortable talking about wealth distribution, and are nervous of changes. I think we've all been brought up with a lie that you can be worth hundreds of people in wealth and somehow deserve it. Because as John Oliver explained we have the unreasonable optimism to think we have a feasible chance of getting there too even though it's obviously a vanishingly small population. We don't want to make those people at a more reasonable standard because we want that too. And we don't want to admit that's wrong because that admits we're guilt in perpetuating the suffering of the lowest who take the fall so they can rise. Let's not just be cynical about the convenient scapegoats of government, the masses have plenty of influence and plenty of our flaws.

    Well, it wouldn't exactly. She's not exactly wrong.

    (My answer)

    And on whether America is divided? Yes, but it always has been. No country is a monolith, no party or movement is a monolith, no demographic is a monolith. There is vast swathes of opinions once you look at the details, once you look at more complex categories than just left/right etc, and this has always been. People have always wanted to complain about things these days more often as they grow older, and this is a recognized psychological bias. And any discussion of how the internet did this and the media did that needs to consider that exposure of things is well documented to make us feel more like they're frequent even if it's just we never noticed them before. The world is always changing but in some ways it's also the same old stuff.
     
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  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."-John Steinbeck


    Fair point, but let me bring you this analogy.

    A professional body builder/fitness coach walks into a room full of morbidly obese people, and he says, "why can't you be like me?"

    Look, I get it, that expectation is unrealistic. If only everyone was as forward thinking as I, to realize we need a research based economy that focuses on things like space travel, longevity, and terraforming, to realize that it is excessive and rather pointless for one individual to own twenty homes when other families are working their asses off just to get by, or even just to want basic income.


    That doesn't mean the obese people are right either. People have got to have a standard. That's what Bernie was about. When you have a rigged political and economic system, we're no longer talking about survival of the fittest capitalism, we're talking about dead ends and illusions.
     
  12. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I don't think it's "rigged". But it has issues yes.
     
  13. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't have to. You're a very young adult in living in Australia. All the experts say it is rigged. In fact it's pretty much much been proven that corporations pull the strings. So, think what you want, but it is rigged.
     
  14. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's not rigorous @123...

    You say he's 'too young to understand, a foreigner,' then invoke 'all the experts;' but please give us some evidence of the conspiracy, for want of a better word.

    The US political system is rigged because...

    A couple of pointers toward something we/he can can check for ourselves?
     
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  15. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Edited for purposes of magnanimity:

    Dear Wolf,

    Please see the link below, which not only accurately expresses the opinions of the overwhelming American public, but also, explains in clear detail, with facts and figures, why so many Americans feel disparaged.
    http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/28/news/economy/americans-believe-economy-is-rigged/


    PS- these articles are very easy to find in case you are interested.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  16. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    One for your collection:

    http://www.hellomagazine.com/
     
  17. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Call Rome by any other name, will it not collapse? :p
     
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  18. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Kropotkin rules.
     
  19. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Open your eyes.
     
  20. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here's hoping.
     
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  21. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    That's the most arrogant and useless statement of "evidence" you could come up with. :bigmeh:
     
  22. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Self-evident.
     
  23. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    That's an article about the economy not the political system. And yes there are some clear issues in both but notice they had a "pick the closest" not pick your belief. So many moght agree with me on not having a grand extent blanket statement.
     
  24. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @matwoolf the way it is rigged is by career politicians that are self serving and corrupt in some fashion or another.
    To run for president one must have a shit load of money (which most people could not dream of ever seeing in
    several lifetimes). So we get people to choose from that are puppets of corporations instead, because we all can
    plainly see that owners of giant corps. are going to want to rig the system in their favor. Not too mention all the
    wars we have ongoing are only good for the companies that manufacture war equipment and weapons, not all that
    cheap on the go. And everybody in the middle and lower class have to foot the bills, because the rich have found ways
    around paying taxes by using offshore tax safe havens. All of this adds up to crony capitalism where more and more
    wealth gets circumvented to the elite, thus screwing up the economy. You think the war in the middle east has any
    thing to do with freeing the people? Fuck no it is about the oil that we have interest in, and we really don't like
    others threatening our interests. By "our", I mean the rich people.

    So if you are familiar with all the small and large steps that brought down the Roman Empire of millennium ago,
    you can draw parallels to the US. Simply put there ain't no mo' money, and the gov. just don't want to admit it. :p
     
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  25. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Perhaps you could say it's fairly sel-evident that they are issues but neither the results of the economy nor politics are totally unfair. Indeed, at least in Australia, the poltical system is almost immune to such blanket claims. Votes are counted by ordinary people volunteering, and because the vote is mandatory you don't have America's issue with conservatives apparent voting more. And you can clearly and strongly tie the swings back and forth to the attitudes you observe in the people. The main issue is the somewhat over narrow representation of who becomes a politician, and when political parties do things like Labor recently did. They had a vote amongst all the common members, the voters, to see what they thought, not as an actual election, and they said Anthony Albanese should be leader of the party. They put Bill Shorten, who isn't as popular, instead. Now it's a decision for the standing members, not voters, but it seems oretty silly abd unfair to to against their wishes. He's a long running success in his own electorate and a well-respected guy. If people want him, why not do it? It means if they get elected the leader won't be the one people want. But the whole system clearly ISN'T rigged because that's just overdramatic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
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