We’re called the United States of America, but the way that many political commentators talk, you’d think there’s a civil war going on. I saw this image taking up half of the front page of a newspaper today (maybe because the paper’s one or two writers on staff couldn’t come up with many stories to write about, and maybe because of a genuine political interest):
The headline asks: Can Obama and Congress Unite the Nation?
I ask, why should Obama and Congress unite the nation? Is it ever humanly possible to unite the nation and to keep democracy alive? Doesn’t democracy thrive on honest disagreement and division?
Can a culture be regarded as healthy when it contains only one dominant form of opinion, behind which almost everybody stands together?
By what mechanisms exactly would the President and Congress unite a nation that includes citizens who want the federal government to do well for its people and citizens who want the federal government to just go away?
I am reminded that Unity has long been the rallying cry of organizations, like Unity08, that actually are designed to represent only a tiny portion of the population.
As for me, unity is one of the last political goals that I want Barack Obama and Congress to pursue.
But, if you disagree with me, say so. Maybe there’s a splinter group in American culture that’s for unity. If so, please let me know exactly how you’d like to see it work… because my mind is divided, really. Part of my mind runs from the idea of unity, but the other part is curious. Speak to that part, if you can.