New surveys confirm that political divisiveness continues to grow and that those driving divisiveness the most are Republicans - something that really should be no surprise given the dominance of the Christofascists in the GOP base. These people are defined by their hatred of others and reaction against anything or anyone who threatens the artificial mythical world view that they cling to. How the phenomenon can be reversed is difficult to say, particularly because their is no indication that the GOP can exile these people to the political wilderness where they belong any time soon. Here are highlights from a column in the New York Times:
For an increasing number of Americans, the tenor of politics has reached a near-religious pitch, in which people on opposing ends of the ideological scale take on theological properties: good or evil, angels or demons, here to either save our way of life or destroy it.
[W]hile 27 percent of Democrats see the Republican Party as a threat to the nation’s well-being, 36 percent of Republicans see the Democratic Party as a threat. Conservatives were also more likely to say that it was important to live in places where people shared their political views. Additionally, conservatives were more likely to say they would be unhappy if a close relative married a Democrat than were liberals to say they would be unhappy to have a Republican in-law.
This phenomenon coincides, to a certain degree, with the rise of talk radio and the stridently ideological cable news — profit-driven provocateurs whose livelihoods ride on their abilities to rouse rabble, stir passions and diabolize opponents.
And many of their listeners, viewers and readers become the apostles of passion, enforcing rigid binary ideologies that accommodate little subtlety. Any seeming equivocation is deemed evidence of apostasy. This, in itself, is dangerous.
In the wake of his [Obama's] ascension came the rise of the Tea Party, the incredible assertion by the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, that conservatives’ top priority should be to keep Obama from being re-elected (that didn’t work out so well), the stunning assault on voter rights, the influx of conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers into the political arena, blatant gerrymandering after the last census and the unprecedented levels of obstruction by Republicans in Congress.
There are some moral issues on which there can be no ambiguity. For instance, people cannot be treated differently because of the way they were born, developed or identify; women must have access to the full range of reproductive options; and something must be done about the continued carnage of gun violence in this country.There are other areas, however — the continued existence of the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, the use of drones, government surveillance — that require critical, nonpartisan examination, regardless of who is in charge, in part because many of these policies overlap Republican and Democratic administrations.
Loyalties too freely given and too uncritically maintained become fertile ground for — and, in fact, issue license for — the corruption of conscience and the betrayal of principle.