Republican obstruction of democracy

The Great American Cleaving by Charles M. Blow, New York Times, November 5, 2010 …We have retreated to our respective political corners and armed ourselves in an ideological standoff over the very meaning of America, having diametrically opposed interpretations of its past and visions for its future….Ideology is slowly becoming rigidly prescriptive and political transcendence is becoming less and less possible or admirable…Instead of moving toward the middle, we are drifting toward the extremes…Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, delivered the opening salvo, saying “our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” Not jobs? Not the deficit? Not the two interminable wars?
That ripping sound you hear is the fabric of a nation
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Us vs Them A Simple Recipe to Prevent Strong Society from Forming By James Rohrer, AlterNet.org, July 27, 2012 …We humans are by nature social crea­tures, even the most intro­verted of us, and we tend to trust and fol­low the think­ing of the groups with which we identify…Our groups define “us” and exert pow­er­ful influ­ence on how we think, even how we feel, and how we behave in soci­ety. By def­i­n­i­tion, of course, every group cre­ates “Them”— they are all the ones who are not in our group…most groups have some set of outsiders—some par­tic­u­lar slice of the vast pop­u­la­tion that is “them” –that serves a very spe­cial sym­bolic func­tion in their cos­mos. These are mem­bers of other groups that believe things or advo­cate things that our group opposes. They are the enemy.

Many groups, in fact, are formed specif­i­cally in oppo­si­tion to some other group, and thus are defined pre­cisely by their com­pe­ti­tion or con­flict with “Them.” In this case, between “us” and “them” there can be noth­ing but implaca­ble hostility.

Con­flict, often low level, but some­times vio­lent, is endemic to human social life.…Throughout his­tory, polit­i­cal elites have manip­u­lated social groups to achieve and main­tain power.… in the last two gen­er­a­tions Repub­li­cans have mas­ter­fully used wedge pol­i­tics– pit­ting us against them — to gain and keep power and to imple­ment poli­cies that a clear major­ity of the pop­u­lace dis­likes, but appar­ently can­not find any effec­tive way to change.…Although we live in an irre­ducibly plu­ral­is­tic world, we have yet to learn how to func­tion as a plu­ral­is­tic democracy…

To restore civil dis­course and bring down the level of polar­iza­tion, we need to learn new ways of relat­ing together as us and them.….…The fun­da­men­tal ques­tions need to be raised, because what we imagine—no mat­ter how inchoate it may be—influences the way that we act and the choices that we make every day. Noth­ing is more imme­di­ately prac­ti­cal and polit­i­cal than imagination.…..We have a lot of rehu­man­iz­ing to do. There are pow­er­ful polit­i­cal and eco­nomic inter­ests that want to keep us frag­mented and at one another’s throats rather than work­ing together to estab­lish a more inclu­sive democ­racy. They will do all they can to stir con­tin­ued dis­cord between groups and to use wedge pol­i­tics to defeat our aspi­ra­tions for mean­ing­ful change. Can pro­gres­sives of all per­sua­sions, no mat­ter what our pri­mary inter­est groups may be, at least agree that we will stop doing their job for them?

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