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America: Caught in the Throes of an Escalating "UnCivil War"

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Watching what's going on in America today is like reliving the years preceding the destructive Civil War of the 1860's in which the seething anger and great dissension between opposing factions finally reached a boiling point and erupted into extreme violence. It's as if that dissension that tore America apart became embedded in this nation's psyche and has now resurfaced in this society.

What we may be experiencing is today's version of that massive conflict that, in times past, was ignited by irreconcilable differences between the North and the South. While bullets and bombs are not being used in this societal conflict there are other forms of destructive weapons that are causing great turmoil in this country; weapons that individuals use against each other such as extreme anger, hatred, obstruction, suppression, manipulation, deceit, deception and treachery.


It's the North vs. the South all over again. Just look at a map that depicts the state by state electoral situation in this country. The Democratic Blue States, largely in the North and the East, plus California, and the Republican Red States in the South and the West, have completely opposite ideologies and agendas and their politicians agree on virtually nothing. To illustrate the situation let's slightly alter a famous quote from a poem by Rudyard Kipling: "North is North and South is South, and never the twain shall meet." What we have are two separate America's where there is no middle or common ground but, rather, a monumental clash of political and social ideology.

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But the irreconcilable differences that exist between people in America today are not just between the North and the South; they involve far more than that as they encompasses this entire nation and its people.

This Uncivil War includes the masters of Wall Street and the ultra rich versus Main Street, the middle class and those who have been relegated to the lower levels of the income spectrum. Some characterize this conflict as being between the 1% and the 99%. Those at the top want more and more wealth and control while those below them simply want to have decent jobs and not have to struggle to survive. Those at the top are hard at work suppressing and controlling those below them by every means at their disposal.

Various factions and segments of America seem to be out of sync, on totally different frequencies, marching to beat of different drummers. There is nothing wrong with strong opinions and having a mind of your own. That's a healthy condition if the exchange of opposing viewpoints leads to a consensus that creates good conditions for everyone; but in America today a very divisive atmosphere has evolved in which extreme, unrelenting positions cause such dissension that it prevents anything of real substance to be accomplished. The U.S. Congress is the perfect living example of that as it continues to remain in a state of complete gridlock and inability to function.

But let's get right to the biggest divide and conflict that I believe exists in America today and seems to be the root cause of most of our critical problems. Watching the direction in which this nation is rapidly moving, it seems to me that the large majority of Americans fall into either one of two separate categories which form the basis for how they lead their lives and how they interact with their fellow Americans. Of course, there are those who are sort of in between and don't fit into either group but they are not relevant to this particular discussion.

On the one hand there is a sizable portion of Americans whose nature it is to believe that they personally, as well as their government, have a definite responsibility to help create opportunities for others and to care for them when they are caught up in   difficult times. That's where the great social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, college tuition aid, unemployment benefits and others came into being. People in this category think not only of themselves but sympathize and empathize with their fellow Americans in their time of need.

Then we have those in the second category whose nature is the exact opposite of the first group. They believe that everyone should stand on his or her own and that no one is owed anything by the government or anyone else. They are adamantly opposed to all those social programs mentioned above and they and many of their sociopathic political operatives in Congress are determined that one way or the other they will eventual destroy every one of them. These are the people that have their minds set solely on themselves and have no concern for their fellow Americans.

Let's think about an issue that clearly illustrates the great divide and disagreement between these two categories of Americans, those who have the capacity to care for others in need versus those who want no part of it. The issue of which I speak is one of the most critical that America faces; it's health care and the continuing monumental battle between the forces who want to create a system of universal health care for all Americans and those who, if given the chance, will destroy any possibility of that happening.

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Just consider how health care has become such a controversial and debatable issue. It seems that something like half of Americans are for some form of universal care and the other half are adamantly against it. Why exactly is that? Shouldn't we all want to be certain that all our fellow Americans get the same medical benefits, that they all get preventative testing, and follow up treatments where needed so that, if tests are initiated early enough, catastrophic illnesses might often be prevented?

You would think so but that is not the case in America today. Those who could care less about others are in total disagreement with this position. Their attitude is: "Let those who don't have medical insurance fend for themselves; if they get sick all they have to do is to go to the nearest emergency room." "That's their problem, let them deal with it."

Then there's the arrogant, selfish attitude of far too many Americans that say, "I worked hard to get where I am today, so let everybody else do it the same way." It is so easy to criticize and belittle others and make generalizations about them when you don't know what they are going through in their lives, when you have not "walked in their shoes." That seems to be the thinking of Mitt Romney when he said that 47% of Americans were government freeloaders who see themselves as victims and, therefore, can't be persuaded to take personal responsibility for their lives. And this putdown and insult to his fellow Americans is coming from a guy who "was born on third base and mistakenly thinks that he hit a triple."

How about the increasing divide between Republicans and the women of America? Many polls show that women favor the Democratic agenda over that of the GOP by as much as 2 to 1. Why is that? Well it might be because a large portion of Republicans, by nature, are control freaks and the fact is that women are simply not going to have their bodies or their decisions controlled by a bunch of Stone Age chauvinists. The days of attempting to control American women and "keep them in their place" are long gone but these guys who live on the extremely radical and conservative side of America can't seem to get that through their thick heads. That's a fight that they will lose and lose badly.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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