How do you feel this morning? According to the most recent national polls approximately 33% of us are probably upset, 33% are probably dancing in the aisles and most likely half of the other 33% are probably either one or neither one.
We truly are a divided nation when it comes to our politics if you believe the polls and the media. However, two very recent respected polls shows we are much more united than we think.
According to the Rasmussen Poll, taken July 22, 2014, a vast super majority of Eighty-three percent (83%) of all voters believe that their fellow Americans are not informed voters.
So, we're not as divided as we think. Although the vast majority of us think the vast majority of us are uniformed, we also share more positive qualities about ourselves.
According to a June 2014 Pew Research Poll titled Political Polarization in the American Public, the majority do not have uniformly conservative or liberal views. Most do not see either party as a threat to the nation. And more believe their representatives in government should meet halfway to resolve contentious disputes rather than hold out for more of what they want.
While they do conclude there is a slight increase in partisanship on both sides of the aisle the research also showed that almost 80% (notice it's a very similar figure to those that think their fellow Americans are not informed) are not ideologically divided. And it further went on to show that even those who are partisan are still much more willing to compromise for the sake of strengthening their city, state and country.
If nearly 80% of the country is not as divided, but actually united on many issues, the big questions are:
Why are we led to believe otherwise?
How does this affect us personally and as a nation?
What are we to do about correcting this grand illusion?
Each response would easily lead to a complete essay itself, but for this purpose 80% will agree on some basic answers.
1) Why are we led to believe otherwise?
Two very basic answers for the 80%ers. From the media, which is responsible for getting out the information, it's a case of man bites dog. Divisiveness sells and unity is boring. On a more insidious and institutional level, divisiveness creates a sense of no cohesion and that an institution, be it governmental or otherwise, can come to the rescue and save us from ourselves.
2) How does this affect us personally and as a nation?
That answer lies in the statistics of the first pole. On a national level it causes more than 80% of us to not believe our fellow citizens are as bright as they actually are, even if not properly informed. And on an individual level it adds to a sense of hopelessness because we 80%ers feel like we are not really in the majority and in turn are powerless to enact the correct policy changes.
3) What are we to do about correcting this grand illusion?
The most important thing we can do is to realize that it is an illusion in the first place. The more we become aware of that fact, the more united we become, the more powerful we become and most importantly, the less victimization we feel.
In short, we need no rescuing from ourselves. In fact, we need the opposite. We need to start realizing that we are not ungrateful victims, but grateful victors of creating a working society. A society where more than 80% of us know what we want, that we are united and that we are not mere pawns to powerful institutions, but Kings & Queens of our individual choices and united psyche.
So, now back to the first question proposed at top. How do you feel this morning?
No matter which 33% category you fall into, remember that 80% of your fellow citizens feel the same way and in that sense we are united and grateful that the American Experiment marches on.