The liberal-conservative rift in the US is disheartening. Friends unfriend one another in more ways than a FB click. Family ties snap into estrangement and fools threaten violence over ideological conflict.
It strikes me that the divisive issues are a function of two forces: material and moral. We fight over how the national purse will spent, of course. However, the real splintering power is not limited resources. The actual divisive power is an argument over morality which is inherently an issue of trust.
Basically, we Americans do not trust each other over the nature of good and evil which discussion is the simple little demon fraying the social fabric of the body politic. This lack of trust crosses through our national heritage as a melting pot and lurks within us individually and corporately as a dangerous us/them antagonism. The current pot is a stench of putrid human foible, blame shifting and mean-spirited evisceration of the other side.
The material disconnect between US citizens is relatively easy to understand. Think of any family: does everybody agree on how a finite amount of money is to be spent? Families that remain not simply together but cohesive have uncovered, developed, understood a shared value system of respect and commitment. This is the moral level of their bond. Each family member maintaining respect for other family members is a binding of the self within an acceptable range of behavior otherwise known as sense of what is right and wrong toward other family members. Such value system does not guarantee financial agreement. Commitment to one another undergirds a continuing exercise of mutual respect which enables agreement based on compromise.
Respect builds the cohesiveness that enables all the family stakeholders to realize themselves as a valued part of a whole. There is a continuing sense of belonging, of membership in a larger identity than just the self. Thus, compromise results from a shared morality or right behavior toward one another.
Within the national discourse currently, declaring one’s political party position as “moral” is at the heart of the red/blue conflict. Individuals, organized support groups, developed lobbying entities and elected officials of both sides marshal their arguments for and against with subjective “moral” statements as ammunition. Grievously, both sides seem to lack any store of the true moral substance of respect and commitment to persons of the opposite view, and in effect, to maintenance of our nation.
This is just a blog post, eh? More in part two…or maybe parts two and three!