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Mon Nov 5, 2012, 05:27 PM

Robert Reich (We the People, and the New American Civil War)

The vitriol is worse is worse than I ever recall. Worse than the Palin-induced smarmy 2008. Worse than the swift-boat lies of 2004. Worse, even, than the anything-goes craziness of 2000 and its ensuing bitterness.

It’s almost a civil war. I know families in which close relatives are no longer speaking. A dating service says Democrats won’t even consider going out with Republicans, and vice-versa. My email and twitter feeds contain messages from strangers I wouldn’t share with my granddaughter.

What’s going on? Yes, we’re divided over issues like the size of government and whether women should have control over their bodies. But these aren’t exactly new debates. We’ve been disagreeing over the size and role of government since Thomas Jefferson squared off with Alexander Hamilton, and over abortion rights since before Roe v. Wade, almost forty years ago.

And we’ve had bigger disagreements in the past – over the Vietnam War, civil rights, communist witch hunts – that didn’t rip us apart like this.

Maybe it’s that we’re more separated now, geographically and online.
The town where I grew up in the 1950s was a GOP stronghold, but Henry Wallace, FDR’s left-wing vice president, had retired there quite happily. Our political disagreements then and there didn’t get in the way of our friendships. Or even our families — my father voted Republican and my mother was a Democrat. And we all watched Edward R. Murrow deliver the news, and then, later, Walter Cronkite. Both men were the ultimate arbiters of truth.

But now most of us exist in our own political bubbles, left and right. I live in Berkeley, California – a blue city in a blue state – and rarely stumble across anyone who isn’t a liberal Democrat (the biggest battles here are between the moderate left and the far-left). The TV has hundreds of channels so I can pick what I want to watch and who I want to hear. And everything I read online confirms everything I believe, thanks in part to Google’s convenient algorithms.

So when Americans get upset about politics these days we tend to stew in our own juices, without benefit of anyone we know well and with whom we disagree — and this makes it almost impossible for us to understand the other side.

That geographic split also means more Americans are represented in Congress by people whose political competition comes from primary challengers – right-wing Republicans in red states and districts, left-wing Democrats in blue states and districts. And this drives those who represent us even further apart.

But I think the degree of venom we’re experiencing has deeper roots.

full story here: http://laborspains.blogspot.com/2012/11/robert-reich-we-people-and-new-american.html

Originally published here: http://robertreich.org/post/35070262414

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Reply Robert Reich (We the People, and the New American Civil War) (Original post)
geefloyd46 Nov 2012 OP
southernyankeebelle Nov 2012 #1

Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 05:53 PM

1. I think it started when Gringrich took control of the house and was a bully and he continued it.

 

Then Fox News Network spread their hate til this is what we have. Until the FCC does something about this we will no longer have freedoms like we use to have.

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