The Widening Political Divide….

2014-05-16_08-56-27So we’re going to start in 1941-’42, right in the middle of World War II. And the reason for that, you see a lot of the mixing here. Now, these dots that you see on the screen, they represent individual members of Congress and how they vote. Over on the blue side is more liberal, over on the right more conservative, and the higher up you go is the more orthodox they voted, whether conservative or liberal, and voted together as a party. So, you see a lot of people mixing and a lot going further down the line. But then, when you move 20 years later, to 1963-’64, when the civil rights legislation passed, you start to see some divide. And — but you do still see some mixing, which is people talk about Lyndon Johnson being able to get civil rights through because he was a Southern Democrat and was able to get some of those Southern Democrats over.2014-05-16_08-57-25 Move ahead to the 1980s, and you see people talking about, oh, Social Security reform, they’re able to do so much on that. And that’s on large measure because there were still some people in the middle. Now, 1995-1996, right after when the Republican revolution happened, the Gingrich Contract With America, and now you start to really see this divide start to set in. But you see a lot more Democrats there still moving sort of toward the middle, some Republicans as well meeting in the middle. And now when we look ahead to where we are today to 2012-2013, and look how far apart the two parties are. And it’s going to get even worse. That’s the one thing we know this time around.2014-05-16_08-58-29 SOURCE: Midterm races showcase widening political divide.

This was a very interesting segment from the PBS Newshour recently that shows the political divide in this country from the end of WW II up to recently. I have always suspected that the political divide was growing throughout my lifetime but it is still hard to believe how partisan as it has become in the last few decades.  My biggest question in this area is WHY?? What Changed?

What has happened in the last 60+ years to cause people to separate from each other as they have.  One observation is that it is pretty obvious from these charts is that this divide is considerably deeper in the conservative camp than on the liberal side. There are still some blue dots at the lower parts of the most recent graph where there is basically none on the red side and the distance between the two groups is growing. If the Tea Party had its way they would not even appear on the same graph.

Why have the people who most resist change separated from the rest of us to the extreme extent they have? Why has it become fashionable to dislike everyone you don’t agree with? What happened to the concept of agreeing to disagree? I could speculate on the reasons here but I won’t. I want this post to be one that makes you personally think of the possibilities. As soon as I would put forth my opinions the post would likely become a dividing point between us.  While I don’t usually shy away from that challenge I want to do so this time.

Please take a moment to consider why we are now so divided and what would it take to see each other as fellow citizens instead of enemies to be conquered…..