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Besafe's avatar

Why is America so polarized

Asked by Besafe (441points) March 4th, 2008 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

11 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

Mr. George W. “I’m a uniter, not a divider” Bush.

kevbo's avatar

In getting Bush elected, Karl Rove’s political strategy was to ignore the middle and mobilize the right by appealing to Christian conservatives (not to bash Christian conservatives, it’s just that there are a lot of them and they were relatively easy to mobilize). Consequently, we have been living with the tyranny of the majority for some time now, which has caused the left much ire.

Plus, it’s good for the news media.

Riser's avatar

America has been polarized years before HW Bush.

Besafe's avatar

But it is not just politics or religion – we are a divided culture as well.

kevbo's avatar

How do you mean?

elman25's avatar

damn commies!

Besafe's avatar

Examples of what i mean by cultural polarization—we have those who live by TV – get all their info from it and we have those who shun TV and consider themselves educated because they read books etc.. We have those who are really hooked into the new techno stuff (like this site) and those who prefer to live a simple life without all the techo stuff. We have those who live a traditional married life and those who live in other arrangements. We have those who are gay and those who are straight. The list is long

kevbo's avatar

I suppose because we are a diverse society with the freedom to express that diversity. We are also a very competitive society, which is, I’m guessing part of what you are getting at. Is your vision to have everyone march in lockstep, or is it more the voracity of opinion that bothers you as opposed to the diversity (i.e. you’re okay with the diversity so long as people are tolerant of each other’s differences)? Do you believe there was a time in history when America was less polarized?

For now, I’d answer your question by saying that it’s because our values are centered around individual rights, competition, and a free market, and because we have had a two party system. (Unlike a multi-party system which requires the formation of coalitions to achieve power.)

Besafe's avatar

I ‘d prefer that there be a normal distribution not a bipolar one. Even in engineering processes (my work) opposites rule – the middle is gone. We see it clearly in our economy and politics but overall the middle is vanishing—IMHO

kevbo's avatar

I don’t doubt the sincerity of your lament, although I’m quite surprised to hear that engineering (which I know next to nothing about) has also been affected. I’d be interested in hearing you draw that out. How do opposites rule in engineering? What, in your mind, would be a middle for engineering?

“Normal” is not easily defined these days, as I’m sure you know. In terms of culture, I think what we have today is the result of technology doing it’s thing and the backlash of marginalized segments of society. I would say that what was once the “red-blooded American” version of normal distribution marginalized an awful lot of people—women, minorities, gays, atheists, youth etc. For those marginalized groups, the advent of network technologies and other factors (which I can’t think of) gave these marginalized groups the opportunity to form their own hierarchies and assert some degree of power in the cultural sphere. I would say that you see a lot of fragmentation, in this regard, as opposed to polarization. Again, what, in your mind, is a normal distribution for culture? Is it a daily newspaper, three network news programs, church, theater, movies and books, or is it something else. (I don’t mean to pigeonhole you with that list; I’m just taking a guess.)

Riser's avatar

anyone that is oppressed will resist, whether they succeed or not is subject to variables, but if they do succeed they will rarely unify with their oppressors and in what little ways they do it is only temporary or superficial, therefore polarization is inevitable especially in America because democracy requires it.

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