- Researchers have found “increasingly stark disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on the economy, racial justice, climate change, law enforcement, international engagement and a long list of other issues.”
- Elected officials on the left and right seem to be united in their unwillingness to rein in government spending and become more fiscally responsible.
- Americans have to come together.
Americans are struggling to find unity these days, and this disagreement is reflected in our representation on Capitol Hill, most notably in our politics. It seems that the United States is more fragmented now, than at any point in the country’s recent history.
It’s not difficult to see both sides view the other as endangering the stability of our country.
According to Pew Research studies, researchers found “increasingly stark disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on the economy, racial justice, climate change, law enforcement, international engagement and a long list of other issues.”
The stark differences in political ideology between the parties are often highlighted and magnified by the mainstream media.
But what about unity?
There are several things that Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on, at least in practical terms of what they actually do in Washington. Some of these issues represent common struggles shared by most Americans to some degree or another.
It seems that most of us agree that there are problems that need our collective attention in areas like education, healthcare, and retirement for our senior citizens. It’s even generally agreed upon that these are areas where we can come together, find some common ground, and make meaningful progress.
Oftentimes the problem seems to be that while both sides agree that these are problematic areas, however, they disagree on how to fix them. This often leads to an impasse in terms of impactful political action. However, unity can be found among politicians. Unfortunately, the type of unity that exists may be more harmful than helpful. Allow me to highlight a few examples.
Money, money, money . . .
When was the last time an administration or political party led the charge to decrease spending or keep us from going further into debt as a nation? The only time we’ve even come close to addressing our national debt was during Democrat President Bill Clinton’s administration in the late 90’s with a Republican majority in Congress.
It doesn’t take a degree in economics to understand that the amount of national debt we are accumulating is unsustainable.
Nevertheless, elected officials on the left and right seem to be united in their unwillingness to rein in government spending and become more fiscally responsible.
This is clearly demonstrated by pork barrel spending that gets attached to most major pieces of legislation by conservatives and liberals alike. It’s this kind of unity that has been accepted as a normal part of the political culture in D.C. for decades.
Maybe we’re not so different after all.
Republicans have solidified their party’s reputation in recent years as being pro-military, while the Democrats are often viewed nowadays as less supportive of the armed forces. This is mainly due to the party’s focus on respective spending in terms of military budget proposals and allocations over the past several decades.
According to Military Times, “polls have shown that veterans as a group tend to identify more often with the Republican Party and vote for more conservative candidates.” Reputation is one thing, but reality is often quite another.
The reality is that both parties, in terms of supporting military action, have proven themselves to be parties of constant war. Just look at the record on both sides of the aisle. Case in point, consider the number of drone strikes under the authority of President Obama.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 in spite of being well on his way to approving far more overseas bombings by American military forces via drone technology than his Republican predecessor. Obama’s legacy of drone use led to the normalization of this type of impersonal military action that has since become “wildly popular” among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to quote the New York Times.
This represents another united front on the left and right, but it’s not necessarily one that’s healthy and sustainable for our country.
More freedom or less?
Another area where we find unity is in government overreach in the form of more legislation and regulation. Democrats are often blamed by Republicans on this front, but it was President George W. Bush with the bipartisan support of Republicans and Democrats who passed the Patriot Act in October of 2001 in the wake of 9-11.
This broad-sweeping legislation may very well constitute the single most egregious trampling of the American people’s individual rights in modern history. Historically, both of the mainline parties have been careful to, in the words of Winston Churchill, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”
A population that’s fearful in the aftermath of a national tragedy is much more receptive to legislative measures that seize power and control by those in authority. It seems demonstrably and historically true that politicians on both sides of the aisle have been willing to leverage fear to take away freedom for political gain.
United we stand, or united we fall?
Coming together and being united is typically considered to be a wonderful thing and something a society should strive for. Unity is so highly regarded that it was a key theme in President Biden’s inauguration speech just weeks ago. Biden said this in his inauguration speech:
“Without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury,” he said. “No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.”
“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,” he continued. “And unity is the path forward”.
In fact, unity can be a beautiful thing if it leads to progress for all.
However, I’m not sure that’s the type of unity we currently find in our halls of government at the highest level. Our out of control spending, endless wars, and the restriction on the rights of the American people have never prolonged the healthy life of a society.
The areas where we find the most unity may very well lead to our downfall as a nation.
Josh is a faith and culture writer with ThinkCivics. He attended seminary through Rock of Ages Baptist Bible Institute out of Cleveland, TN. He has held about every position one could hold in a local church: Sunday school teacher, Children’s Church Preacher, Bus Ministry Director/Worker, Missions Director, Choir Director, Song Leader, Janitor, etc. In October of 2005, he was ordained as an Assistant Pastor at Rest Haven Baptist Church, and that’s where he served until God called him into the Pastorate at Enon Baptist Church in Alto, GA at the age of 32. He stepped out by faith in obedience to God’s instructions and quickly received a call from Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Free Home, GA where he now serves as Pastor. In his free time, Josh enjoys spending quality time with his wife (who is his high school sweetheart) and three children: Zoey, Ava, and Jack, as well as reading, writing, hunting, cooking, weight lifting, and martial arts.