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  • Tony Forder

Pernicious Polarization?

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

What It's All About Blog – By Tony Forder

It's been two years since the Day Democracy died – at the Capital, Washington DC, January 6, 2021. In truth, it seems that democracy in the US, our beacon of political equality shining on the world, has been dying a slow death for a long time, rotten at the core.

Who's to blame? Did the Founding Fathers really get it right? Has the US ever really been united? By some accounts, the early settlers, the Colonials didn’t want to be united. They didn’t trust each other, didn’t even like each other.

Thomas Jefferson tried and failed to start some kind of confederation, inspired by the Iraqois Federation of Nations. In London he told the British that they shouldn’t go too hard on taxes in the colonies for that would band people together. They didn’t listen, and that’s what happened. The colonials became united against a common foe – the English crown.

People and politicians at least tolerated each other for a couple hundred years, and things got done. Now divisions are so stark that nothing gets done. Congress is stuck, frozen, paralyzed. Perhaps the 2-party system is to blame. You're either on one side or the other. Are we destined to be governed only by Executive Order? Is autocracy the future?

I first came to the US from England as an innocent 18-year-old. A disciple of Jack Kerouac, I saw the country from the inside out, on the hiways and biways of 1970s America. I fell in love with the can-do optimism of Americans, so different from the hesitant, hmm I'm not sure, I was used to in England. Back there an idea would be met with a barrage of objections; in the US, a more likely response was "Go for it!" I was infected with the fun of embracing life – grabbing the gusto.

Two years ago, I had just come out of Lowe's hardware store, flipped my car radio on and heard that the nation's capital had been breached. I don't think a lot of people reacted right away, but I immediately knew this was big, like a dam broke, allowing all manner of festering feeling to flow forth that can't be put back. Is this the way we are going to express our opinions ongoing? I've heard it called Pernicious Polarization.

So, can't we all just get along? React to things outside of whatever framework has been thrust upon us. I play disc golf. You may think of it as an alternative sport, but disc golfers are a disparate group with all kinds of beliefs and backgrounds. But on the course our differences disappear as we all try and do our best. Let's all just try and do our best.

Ain't that what it's all about?

– Tony Forder


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