Wednesday, November 07, 2012

On Lincoln's America

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Abraham Lincoln
Now that Barack Obama doesn't have to call the movers, I thought I'd reach way back into history for a slice of perspective. As a Canadian who greatly admires our neighbor to the south, it saddens me that the political discourse has become so rancorous. The nastiness that pervades virtually every aspect of the American political process betrays a country so deeply divided that it's hard to see either polarized side ever recognizing the legitimacy of the other.

It was almost painful to watch the idiocy and bias - the kind of stuff that would have gotten me kicked out of j-school - spewing out of my television, and the personal battles raging in social media, where hardly an hour went by when someone didn't unfriend, unfollow or even block someone else because they strayed into a political minefield. How did we get here? More importantly, how do we get back?

It may be un-Canadian of me to say this, but I'll say it anyway: You're all citizens of the same, once-and-future-great country, folks. With the election now behind us (because, yes, it affects more than just Americans), I hope more of you will start acting like it.

Your turn: Thoughts?


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Carmi, I agree w/your sentiments!. If you noticed how childish their antics were, you can imagine that we felt and saw the same... Its not just in politics, its w/everyday people and happenings... I noticed the behavior back in the mid 90's.... I was appalled at the interactions between parent and child... Its too much of the 'me' generation.. the rudeness and non accountability which is the issue.. The way to get back is for everyone to learn to take responsibility for their actions and non action... to not point blame- to take responsibility and be the solution. People need to realize that one man can not fix something within 4 years especially if it took a few terms to mess it up... People are too caught up in getting a quick fix for issues... there is no quick fix- patience is the key... Technology plays a big part in the way people act... too many devices have made things easier for us... Computers and cell phones to name a few... think about it... we rely on them way too much... transfer that need to political issues, etc... things that have made our life too easy is the root of the attitude you have seen.

mignon said...

it's a fine day for me because my candidate won. but even if the other side had triumphed, i would still completely agree with your words. where is civility? the search, the striving, for common ground? how do we keep a great nation great if we are not willing to sacrifice for unity. we are all americans here! one of my all time favorite books is doris kearns goodwin's TEAM OF RIVALS.

thanks for this post.

21 Wits said...

I know what you mean, some folks take things to such extremes that I've stopped displaying bumper stickers just to be safe. Seriously! I don't think it's going to take going back as much as moving forward and beginning to educate, especially our children. I ran this sweet little video all over twitter and FB just to urge those not sure about voting- it's pretty simple if we begin to start respecting and being proud of our country mainly and first- protecting all that was so long ago fought for - ALL of US! We need more of our children believing in this-

lissa said...

Carmi, you've probably observed my foray in this arena, and the various editorials I have posted on FB and Twitter. Last night dismayed me because supporting the candidate on The Dark Side, I was the token scapegoat. For weeks I was told to shut up because "you DO know we're Canadian, we have no vote, no stake in this election?" (no vote, yes - no stake? Think again). Those same people were partying last night like it was THEIR election, and I stayed away. I blogged, however, so if you have a few extra minutes, my thoughts on this topic are better expressed in my late-night meanderings.

But it should be said - I agree with you 110%, and thank you for your common sense and decency.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

This divide is not a matter of "both sides are to blame", Carmi. (The favorite mantra of our corporate press!)

One side, very well financed by a few very rich people, has pushed this for decades.

And it's paid off very well for them.

cactus petunia said...

I second that! I think it's time we started behaving like educated adults.

rashbre said...

Something that struck me in the debates was the often lack of content, more noticeably so from one party than the other. It ran along the lines of 'yes on topic X we'll make it a whole lot better.'

Our UK system is thought to be drifting towards what our cousins in the West do, but I hope the debates continue to have some substance.