Our Nation’s Political/Social Divide Depends On The Particular Structure Of Individual Mindsets

At the most primitive foundation of the human mind all things are local. Upon this basis, a basis most likely unbeknownst to former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O’Neill, when he said — all politics is local. Indeed, when push comes to shove we humans often fall back upon our most aboriginal thought basis for our opinions, especially when it comes to politics; and hardnosed politicians play to this factor most intensely.

There are of course many levels of the human thought process, not necessary dependent on IQ. For instance way back in my technical school days there was this really bright, mathematical wiz that thought Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin had been a super fine patriot. In truth the Senator was a ruthless, drunken sot who tried to ride the fear of communism to enhanced personal power. As we now know, many lives were ruined on account of McCarthy’s baseless accusations.

The early 1950s period of McCarthyism was just one example of numerous periotic flare-ups of conspiracy fantasy times in our history that assists in tearing the nation apart, a moment of chaos not unlike today, which President Donald J. Trump hopes will soon propel him to absolute power.

There are levels of social sophistication, starting at the vey bottom with the extreme local thinking all the way up to the broadest of discernment. Somewhere around the middle range of these levels of sophistication (intellect really) marks the political/social divide of America. So what are some tells at bottom and top of our national mindset array?

As you might logically think, at the bottom of the range would be the extreme parochial, xenophobic minded neo Nazis and KKK. Move a bit above them there are the right-wing politicians and media types quite willing to throw the nation under the bus to gain power, influence and wealth. The nation’s legion of extreme malcontents and devotees of conspiracy illusions support this grouping. Slightly above them are local minded, non-inclusive types who simply don’t care for strangers or foreigners, but wouldn’t go out of their way to physically attack the “other” or obsessively verbally abuse them. Then moving on up to the edge of the line of the political/social divide are the folks of massive indifference to national and social issues. They are totally consumed with family, friends, work, play, and in many instances serious religious devotion. It requires a severe national situation to cause these folk (excepting Evangelical Christians) to want to exercise their political right of the vote.

Moving just slightly above the political/social line that divides Americans are those only a little less aware of national or even local current events. These folks seldom vote in midterm elections, but when push comes to shove they often side with the more inclusive, upper side of the political/social divide. Above this group are those who regularly vote and who somewhat keep up with current events. The next segment moving above them is the much more curious and inclusive minded folks, folks just short of the point of political activism. And finally at the very top of the political/social divide is the fully inclusive intellectual set. These are the folks who are the staunchest defenders of the American Constitution and our democratic system of the rule of law — not personality — unlike those below the line of our national demarcation that make grand gestures of patriotism, but will throw the country under the bus for an extra nickel.

Indeed, the nation’s political/social divide has always been composed of those with a limited (exclusive) mindset and those of a broad (inclusive) mindset, those wedded to rumor and superstition and those moved only by intellect and fact. Which side of our political/social divide prevails will in short order determine whether America remains a democracy or slips into some fashion of a disastrous dictatorship. Presently it’s hard to tell if the good guys are winning or if greed, corruption and stupidity are on the verge of victory. We shall see the final outcome in only a matter of a few months.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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