Saturday, March 5, 2016

The disconnect

Many conservatives and libertarians have long been baffled that President Obama's approval ratings have remained at or around the 50% mark, even though they would argue that the USA has seldom been worse governed.  Now it seems the boot is on the other foot.  The Washington Post reports:

Hand-wringing over Trump’s rapid climb, once confined to Washington’s political establishment, is now palpable among everyday Americans who are growing ever more anxious over the prospect of the billionaire reaching the White House.

With each new Trump victory in the GOP primaries, Democrats and Republicans alike are sharing their alarm with friends over dinner, with strangers over social media and, in some cases, with their therapists. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 69 percent of Americans said the idea of “President Trump” made them anxious.

For some, Trump’s diatribes against undocumented immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims evoke unpleasant flashbacks of dictators. For others, his raw-toned insults conjure memories of high school bullies.

Type “Trump” and phrases such as “scaring me” or “freaking me out” into Twitter’s search engine, and a litany of tweets unfurl, including one posted two weeks ago by Emma Taylor as she lay in bed in Los Angeles: “I literally can’t sleep because I just thought about how Trump may actually win the Presidency and now I’m having a panic attack.”

“It’s like a hurricane is coming at us, and I don’t have any way of knowing which way to go or how to combat it,” Taylor, 27, a Democrat, said in a phone interview. “He’s extremely reactionary and that’s what scares me the most. I feel totally powerless and it’s horrible.”

There's more at the link.

I can only shake my head at the disconnect thus exposed.  Neither side - progressives, liberals and others on the left versus conservatives, libertarians and those on the right - is actually listening to the other.  Neither side wants what is best for America as a whole.  Both sides are fighting to impose their vision of America on those who don't share it, and they're no longer prepared to compromise and find a shared vision, a joint platform.  They demonize each other instead of trying to work together.

That's a very sad sign for the future of this country, no matter who wins in November.



Divemedic said...

I agree. This nation appears to be as divided as it was in 1856. We all know how that turned out.

SiGraybeard said...

Exactly. We're heading for collapse, or open civil war, or both.

Arguments over who started it and whose fault is is are meaningless at this point. The political class? The two party system? The two sides are so fundamentally irreconcilable that we're not capable of looking at the same thing and seeing the same thing.

As a simple example, look at the comments to this cartoon a simple observation that the character misses a constitutionalist. If one believes the constitution says what it says, one wants, "more oppression, patronizing pseudo-intellectual clap trap in order to build up the civil rights of corporations and the villians (SIC) who run them."?

I can't possibly look at what I know of Justice Scalia and see what that person sees. And most of the comments reflect that view.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

I think it's simply a continuation of the eternally on-going "civilian cold war" syndrome.

The U.S. has never been truly "united" except in rhetoric and mantras. It's always been a culture of racism, social class, inter-gender animosity, ageism and the like.

Most people identify themselves by either their ancestry or by their demographic associations. Very few are actually individuals who simply represent themselves and think independently.

The current political and social climates are bu merely exacerbating an already present but never-paid-attention-to-before civilian divide.

Bob said...

There's an amusing article at The Daily Caller about this very subject:

Trump Has Turned Conservatives Into Social Justice Warriors.

Michael Brazier said...

The problem isn't that the sides don't listen to each other or seek out common ground. It's radically different ideas on what the State is for. Between the libertarian/conservative belief that the crisis is coming because governments are lawless and arbitrary, and the progressive belief that governments aren't lawless or arbitrary enough to deal with the crisis, there cannot in logic be any common ground. Anything one side proposes as a solution to a problem will be rejected by the other as making the problem worse, not due to irrational hatred but by sober, careful analysis - given their basic principle.

Anonymous said...

Michael - Agreed. My dad keeps telling me to "keep an open mind" about this issue or that, but he is utterly unwilling to concede that I ever have a point at all about anything we disagree on. He says we need to compromise, but when I point out that when the other side of an issue has said in so many words that they seek to utterly destroy me or my position, what's the "compromise" position - just give them half everything now, and half later? What's in that for me? Yet he thinks it IS a reasonable compromise. It's like a hoplophobe wanting to bad guns totally, but compromising to just banning half of them now, half of the remaining ones next week, then another half of the remaining guns the week after. It's not a compromise, it's a total capitulation (piecemeal). In reply he either says I'm being silly and dismissing it out of hand, or says "well, maybe they are right, have you ever considered that?" But when I ask for facts, or data, or logic that undercuts my position he cannot provide anything. I mean, quite literally *nothing* to counter my arguments. He's a smart man, and fairly well educated, but simply cannot comprehend people with a different world-view or values. He can "get" an "oppressed muslim," but not the assault on freedom or men or christianity or gun rights or anything a typical libertarian might embrace.

It's really strange.

mc said...

I agree partly with Michael Brazier. true conservatives want to return to the principles in the Constitution that made our country great in the first place. Liberals want to redefine the Constitution to resemble statist Europe. The problem is that Rs have not been conservative and instead caved to liberal expansion of federal govt power. That's where common ground had gotten us where we are today 19 trillion in debt. Still want to find common ground? Or return to small govt Constitutional free markets that made our country great ?
I disagree with you Peter. Don't confuse republicans with conservatives. True conservatives do want what is good for America as a whole. For all people to have an equal chance to work hard and prosper. Not equal outcome but equal opportunity for all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to a commentator at John C Wright's blog, a very good rant about "Why Trump?" He expresses the Trump support very well.
(Note: language alert)

-- Steve

HMS Defiant said...

Well, I was going to agree, but after observing all that agreeableness I changed my mind. My enemies actually like gulags and death camps so I propose to send them to Europe on 1 way tickets. I ask you, what could be fairer than that?

Inconsiderate Bastard said...

"Exactly. We're heading for collapse, or open civil war, or both" from SiG, above.

Stock up on food, ammo, and firewood, kids, you're going to need it. And, as the country splits into violently disparate camps, it'll be handy to be living in a region where the majority supports your idea of, well, whatever you think America is supposed to be, so start poring over those maps.

The disparity of the social camps is disturbing, not but nearly so much as the cognitive dissonance of the so-called "elites" running those factions. On the Republican side, Golden Boy Bush failed early and hard - which was strongly, and very publicly, predicted by any number of observers, observers whom the GOPe apparently was either completely ignorant of or chose to discount - so Rubio surfaced as The Second Choice. That's proving a downward slope as well, so Romney was trotted out last week to attack Trump, only to cause Trump supporters to raise the battlements higher. I can't wait to see which Useful Idiot the GOPe drags into the fray next week; someone willing to believe that bull in the ring is really Elsie the cow, I suspect.

On the Dem side, "I wonder what color the sky is in their world" is the most polite way to describe it; "brain dead four-letter word" would be more honest, as would "anti-American fascists." I am unaware of any universe in which an aging self-proclaimed Socialist and a criminal conspirator constitute rational choices for leadership candidates in a country which, while not exacty following a written Constitution, has a great many citizens who are very much aware that one exists.

One would hope, fruitlessly, as it turns out, that someone, anyone, at the higher reaches of the pyramid would observe events and trends and recognize "holy crap, we caused this." Alas, both sides are run by, and heavily supported by an army of like-minded supplicants, with people who believe that even if the worst happens they'll be among those able to avoid consequences; however, strapping oneself to the topmast of a sinking ship is not a survival strategy.

When the people en mass loudly proclaim "burn it down" and wave torches, one would expect some degree of recognition that no fireproof sanctuary exists, and that abject voting failures at ground level could easily lead to different voting methods, probably from elevation.

That expectation would be wrong.

Anonymous said...

The best that can be hoped for at this point is some peaceful dissolution of the United States. With the fracture between left and right, nationalist and globalist etc and the unprecedented attempt to disposses the American population by the unrestricted importation of millions of third world immigrants there is nothing to save. The factions involved are too different and hold such different world views and life ways that they simply cannot live together. We can hope that the transition to separate nations goes relatively smoothly and peacefully and that the division of national assets can be done amicably. Who gets or doesn't get the nukes is gonna be a sticky one. They'll be essential for securing the new nations against foreign meddling.

On the other hand if we can't separate peacefully it's going to be ugly. A horror combining the worst of the Yugoslavian civil war, the French revolution with more than a little Rwanda thrown in. I pray it never comes to that but deep down I know it probably will.

Bob said...

"On the other hand if we can't separate peacefully it's going to be ugly. A horror combining the worst of the Yugoslavian civil war, the French revolution with more than a little Rwanda thrown in. I pray it never comes to that but deep down I know it probably will."

If/when it comes to that, neither side will win. We will weaken ourselves and then our enemies will swoop in and take over everything. America - in any shape or form - will cease to be.

This is the future we are headed for.

Anonymous said...

Since the very beginning, Americans have preferred their presidential politics searing hot and at volume 11 and a little bit wacky. Every 4 years, the perfumed hankie crowd (generally the ones currently in power) pretend to be shocked by it, poo poo it and make all sorts of dire predictions. (It's a tactic.) They just need to admit we're a noisy bunch, probably won't change quit making such an empty fuss.

Speaking of predictions, with accuracy in mind, I'd take all popularity polls with a huge grain of salt. Who answers personal questions from some anonymous caller interrupting dinner these days? Polling companies have made this complaint, as well. They can't get people to respond any more.

That said, we are in a period of transition that is necessary. Change is often not easy, especially for politicians, it seems. Expect more and continued histrionics as long time insiders are turned out.

Anonymous B