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Extreme divisions in ideology, which have increased in the past 20+ years in the United States, have reached critical mass.

They have stopped Congress in its tracks this year. Worse, the differences have bred hatred, contempt, and intolerance for those not sharing the same beliefs among Americans in general.

Moreover, it seems as if the splits will be permanent. There is no one strong enough, persuasive enough, or universally trusted and liked to bridge the deepening chasm and bring various viewpoints to agreement.

What then is our future to be? We have no shared dreams or goals. We are buffeted from every side by politics, money, greed, inequality, poverty, bad economics — and the list goes on. We are split in so many areas: emotionally, intellectually, politically, religiously, morally, and financially.

Maybe it will become clear in time that we need to physically split — as in a divorce. Maybe there will be two halves of America: the Atlantic United States and the Pacific United States. Or perhaps four parts, or more, to encompass various ideologies.

Maybe we will finally achieve cohesiveness within the smaller portions. Maybe there will be shared effort at long last. And, peaceful coexistence. If we cannot live as one in one land, we may be better off living in separate lands.

Alternatively, if a physical split becomes inevitable, maybe our country will be ripped apart by a civil war. And, very possibly,  it will signal the end of America in any form.

This is a looming problem.  An answer will not be that long in coming if this country continues to move in different directions and on different tracks.

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Some stories I’ve read seem right on target. This election was not a referendum against Obama. It was not a go-ahead signal to the Republicans to do what they want to do. It was a strong voice for the government to get to work and do something productive.

I believe we all want to have both sides come together and work as one for the betterment of the United States and its people. This hasn’t been the case for many years.

Why does this have to be such a struggle? Why does it have to be Them and Us every year? It’s discouraging that our elected officials in government cannot work together in compromise and for what is best for the nation.

The mean attacks. Misinformation. Inability to communicate in a meaningful way with other people of different beliefs. Arrogance. Cluelessness. Greed. Desire for power. Death threats and murder to anyone who thinks in a different way. And, more — are manifested everyday by our government officials and citizens. All of this diminishes us as a country, and has diminished us as a society.

Why can we get so excited and enraged about half truths, yet the bigger truth behind it all is that we are a country divided and fighting itself barely registers and causes concern?

Interestingly, we do see cycles. We have seen the beginning and end of terrible things done to innocent people. We are in another cycle. But this one is not so clearly outlined. Damage is being inflicted that could be lasting. When the cycle ends, I wonder if we will still be standing as a nation? As a society?

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I think I’m going to have to stop reading the paper and keeping up with what is happening in the U.S. It’s getting depressing.

Besides Mitch McConnell saying he is going to focus on getting Obama out in 2012, there is a story about three of the Iowa Supreme Court judges being thrown out by voters because of their ruling in favor of gay marriage. Someone said that with special interests and people giving money to oppose rulings they don’t like that the message has become “justice is for sale.”

Years ago, I hardly knew anything more than the President’s name. I voted all the time, but issues didn’t seem to bother me as they do now. I was pretty much ignorant of what was going on and I remember that it didn’t make me unhappy. I trusted that everything in government was running without my attention.

The first notice I began taking of politics was when Newt Gringrich promoted his Contract with America and the terrible way Clinton was being prodded and poked when he was doing a good job. That’s when I first donated money to the Democratic Party. Gringrich scared me. Out of fear for him continuing to influence political decisions, I paid attention to what was happening in the news. This is when I had a long commute for work. The drive each way was 1-1/2 hours so there was plenty of time to listen to the news on the radio.

Out of all the uncertainties and questions I have now is if the Republicans want Obama out, who would they suggest instead: Palin? Rand Paul? Glenn Beck?

God. I’m scared again.

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A couple of days after the election and there is talk of the Obama’s being the new Kennedys.

Not that I have a problem with that. It’s that there’s always a tendency to find a similarity somewhere in history, so we can grasp our present condition.

The present isn’t completely allowed to speak for itself. But, it’s comforting to know that the similarity is a positive one. Maybe looking back and comparing helps many of us accept what is now.

Although, history or not, some are not accepting. One friend mentioned “mourning” the outcome of the election. Then said the bright spot in the days following the election was that Prop. 8 passed.  I’m pretty sure that there are a multitude of good people who feel this way.

Yet, it’s ironic. We have finally accepted and voted for a leader from a group overcoming discrimination, and then voted to discriminate against another group. Why do we do this? Who’s in and who’s out?

Looking back again in history for a similarity — Is anyone reminded of those boys who cobbled together a clubhouse out of cardboard and painted a “NO GIRLS ALLOWED” sign on the door flap? Or the country clubs who have written “no Jews allowed” into their policies? So many other examples can be brought to mind, as well, ranging from the banal to horrific.

Again one must wonder, why did we do this? Why do we continue to do it?

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Today, I read an account in the paper of a woman who, because of the election, suffers. She has anxiety, and near panic. She can’t sleep. She spends her time on the computer reading election polls and news items about the election. This is me I thought!

Then, I read she is a Republican.

This gave me food for thought. Could Republicans be so terrified of Obama? And, if they are, I’m guessing the couple of years of the forwarded email about Obama being a threat to America — a Muslim with Muslim schooling and a Muslim name — may have led to this feeling of terror.

And, there has to be credit given to Palin for her contribution about Obama “pallin’ around with terrorists.”

Obama recognizes that people have been subjected to “politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.”

If Obama wins, I hope that people will soon lose their fears about him. I want to see this country united again. I hate feeling that a mention of one party or another may cause anger to enter into a conversation or a relationship — even between family members.

Please, dear God, let it be as Obama has said: “We are ONE nation.”

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Lately, I’ve been wondering about something that has to do with the presidential campaigns. Why was it that years ago, certain smaller states did not decide presidential elections?

Is it because the people are more polarized now? Or, because some states are late deciders and not predictable? Or, because the electoral college should be scrapped in favor of presidential elections being decided by a popular vote?

There’s a sense that states like California who carry a great number of electoral votes and are solidly backing Obama in this election are marginalized. Candidates have to concentrate on those who are not decided and could cause the vote to change.

Not being able to elect a president on the basis of a popular vote makes me wonder what my vote is worth. Although I have voted in all the elections since I registered to vote in my twenties, and I still consider it my privilege and responsibility to vote, my vote doesn’t seem to carry much weight any more.

I suppose wondering began with the first election of George Dubyah. He lost the popular vote and still became president. Then, with the results of the second election I felt a mixture of shock and denial. Taking away the fraud factor in Ohio that we all heard so much about, the election result still did not reflect the popular vote.

In addition to wanting to do away with the electoral college, my desire is also to vote separately for a vice president. The Sarah Palin fiasco may bring America to the brink — or even push it over the edge — of a Third World status, I believe we cannot trust the presidential candidates to wisely choose a vice president. In Palin’s case, we have no way to cast a vote against her while casting a vote for McCain. To think of her being President solely because she was chosen by a senile, belligerant, loner is frightening.

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This election campaign has been like a nightmare serial. Especially in the past few days. There have been angry and violent-sounding remarks made at McCain and Palin rallies. The tone of the rallies has begun to morph into the feel of a lynch mob, prompting Congressman John Lewis to issue a warning to MCain/Palin.

I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse….As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.

Here’s a link to the background on this action: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/11/john-lewis-warns-mccain-y_n_133903.html

Palin’s jabs particularly rankle me. She isn’t in the same league as Obama, but doesn’t seem to know. Her opinions are offered to crowds with a snide and nasty attitude. Many of the people in those crowds don’t follow the news, apparently, and are not well informed. So, for them, her words are (pardon the expression) gospel.

Let’s hope that this incitement to anger will be decreased. Once it is fanned into flames, as the Congressman said, there will be no stopping it. Now is the time to scale back their words. It scares me to think of what could happen. To Obama. To the country. To friends and neighbors.

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