When you look around our country at how bitterly divided we are, it’s natural to ask, “Why are we so divided?” and then wonder, “Does it have to be this way forever?”
But inherent in those questions are two flawed assumptions: 1) That there was a time in American history when our citizens were not divided – and 2) that we should always strive to be united.
Both are false. Or as Trump might say, Very False.
The better perspective, in my view, is not why are we so bitterly divided … but what are we so bitterly divided about – and how will this fight likely play out? Whom will history favor?
Long history of disputes
In the 1850s-60s, of course, our nation was bitterly divided over slavery and states’ rights, a division that intensified into secession and war following the election of our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. (Some pointed out after Trump’s election that the Democrat Party hasn’t been this mad since Lincoln freed their slaves!) If it ever feels that we’re hateful and bitter toward one another, some perspective might help: We were so divided in the 1860s, we killed off one-third of our population in the Civil War. That would be the equivalent of more than 100 million Americans dying today. The North-South divisions healed over time, of course, but the principle outcome of the fight was the supremacy of the federal government in determining citizenship status and the establishment of citizenship rights for black Americans. While just 25% of Southerners held slaves by 1860, a lesser-contemplated outcome of the Civil War was that the Southern plantation-based economy was forced to become more diversified and industrialized after the war. Without free unskilled labor, they were spurred to create a more value-added economy – and machinery ultimately replicated much of the work done by slaves.
Fast forward to the 1950s (a relatively peaceful decade) when we were nevertheless bitterly divided over segregation and the Cold War (Ironically, the 2017 Democrats and the media seem to have decided en masse that now is the time to restart the very Cold War McCarthyism liberals despised in the 50s. “Are you now or have you ever been in contact with the Russians?”) Meanwhile, in the battle over “school choice” of the day, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the National Guard to help integrate American schools but not without southern Democrats standing in doorways to block blacks from better educational opportunities (not unlike the Democrat mob that tried to block Betsy DeVos from entering a public school in inner-city Washington D.C. last week to deliver her message of school choice).
In the 1960s, especially toward the end of the decade, America was bitterly divided over the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was a proxy fight in the Cold War, and it arose from what Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address: the rise of the military industrial complex. Though the war was started by Democrats, they eventually became the anti-War party. But as former leftist David Horowitz recently said in an address at UC-Santa Barbara. “It wasn’t an anti-war movement. It was an anti-American (pro-communist) movement.” Why would he say that? Because after American troops pulled out of Vietnam, the communists slaughtered upwards of two million Indo-Chinese peasants – and there was nary a protest from the American Left, Horowitz said. (Leftists also brushed off the killing of David Horowitz’ friend at the hand of the Black Panthers—which is why Horowitz became a conservative. Thanks lefties. Glad to have Horowitz on our side.)
Fast forward to now. What are we divided over? Globalism. Trump won the White House opposing the twin pillars of globalism: free trade and open borders (also known as cheap labor and cheap votes). Both parties (and much of the world) have been dominated by globalists since the end of the Cold War. Clinton signed NAFTA with a lot of Republican help. Since then America has shuttered some 70,000 factories and we now run a $60 billion trade deficit with Mexico while they receive an additional $27 billion a year from remittances, much of it coming from illegal aliens living and working in America. Obama wanted to sign the TPP which essentially puts America at a trading disadvantage with dozens of Pacific Rim nations who are binding together in one negotiation unit not unlike a trade union. The TPP and other such trade deals make it easier for multi-national corporations to export jobs and import cheap products with less recourse for America if any of the nations does not live up to the bargain. Trump ran to the right of the Democrats on borders and to the left of the Republicans on trade. You might call it an end run right up the middle! And he captured the votes of Middle America—at the expense of the coastal elites.
Democrats are Coasting
Coastal elites benefit most from globalism. Silicon Valley and other tech billionaires take advantage of the H1B-Visa program to hire cheap foreign tech workers to create and service their techno-wonders while they build walls around their own mansions. Wall Street one-percenters love the outsourcing of jobs to second-world and third-world countries because it increases corporate profits for the multi-national corporations they own and trade shares in. Globalist politicians, in turn, pocket campaign donations from coastal elites. Middle America, while gaining access to cheap imports, loses full-time, high-paying jobs, and increasingly is forced to work in a service-based economy. The ensuing social ills – bigger welfare rolls, higher criminality (especially in economically depressed inner cities) prescription drug abuse, higher suicide rate – is an inescapable result of globalism. Wages have largely been stagnant in America since NAFTA. Even Bernie Sanders would agree.
Where are we headed in this fight? How will it play out? What we’re seeing now is eerily like the battle lines in the Civil War and the 1950s and 1960s integration fights. We are witnessing states like California and Washington exert their states’ rights arguments for cheap votes, cheap labor and school monopolies. Of course they’re not telling us that this is about cheap votes, cheap labor and school monopolies – but that’s what it is. Don’t forget that during slavery, even though slaves couldn’t vote, their numbers counted toward representation in the House of Representatives. (Slaves counted as three-fifths of whites in tallying population numbers that dictated how many representatives a state could have.) Slave-holding states had disproportionate control over Congress even as they denied voting-rights to millions of their residents.
Today, Democrats love the political power they derive from illegal aliens and legal immigrants who vote overwhelmingly for Democrats! It gives them power! Increasing their population with millions of unskilled (and skilled immigrants) gives them more electoral votes, and even more federal funding for certain population-based programs. But importing voters (not to mention casually allowing in potential criminals and terrorists) has its costs. Increasingly, Americans who are legal immigrants and middle-class voters believe that globalist politicians do not have their best interests at heart. They want national sovereignty restored. They want to take care of Americans First. They want to restore respect for our laws, our borders and our unique culture. Globalists are losing as we witnessed in the surprising Brexit vote last year, and the popularity of populist leaders like Marine LePen in France.
Will terrorism unite us?
As you can see from the above, I have a unique perspective on history which you may or may not agree with. And if you ask a Democrat today, they will likely say that the globalist battle we’re experiencing now is about human rights for immigrants and the continuation of anti-bigotry and civil rights in America. They see themselves on the right side throughout history, naturally. But for me, this battle is about re-establishing American sovereignty and bringing back economic prosperity to the Forgotten People in Middle America, including the descendants of slaves, and legal immigrants. This is about busting up the powerful cultural, financial, legal, educational and electoral monopolies concentrated in wealthy liberal enclaves like Berkeley, for instance, the epicenter of the anti-free-speech movement.
Ironically, the one thing that might unite us now is the battle against Radical Islamic Terrorism. The ONLY time in my life that I’ve seen national unity was right after 9/11 when Republican and Democrat members of Congress locked arms on the steps of the Capitol and sang God Bless America. How long did that last? Six months?
I pray we don’t have to experience another cataclysmic terrorist attack to re-discover brotherly love in America. America united briefly to defeat the Nazis in WWII and we bonded together to put a man on the moon after the tragic assassination of JFK, the president who envisioned our moon launch. (Heck, even Arab states like Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are uniting with their mortal enemy, Israel, around the common enemy of Radical Islamic Terror practiced by ISIS Sunnis and Iranian Shiites.)
Enemies, tragedies, and common goals can unite us – even as old alliances fall, and new ones arise!
As a conservative, I believe we live in a fallen world. And that means we will not often see unity in this world – only brief glimpses of it. The important pursuit is not a false unity, but a clarifying victory that assures freedom of conscience, self-government and due process.
In America, we enjoy the freedom to disagree, the right to be divided – with the constant hope of finding common ground – if only for a moment.