It comes as no surprise to me that a majority of Americans said in a recent Washington Post poll that divisions in the U.S. are at least as big as they were during the Vietnam War, and that American politics have reached a dangerous low point.
America’s socio-political climate is looking more and more like a prison yard where you have to choose your gang to get a sense of support: you’re either on the left or the right. The country is torn between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, and the pluralism, equality, and independence that define the American spirit have been tossed out the window. Instead of a healthy exchange of ideas, there is intimidation and smothering of free speech, and fear that if you exhibit certain political or religious affiliations, you will face verbal or physical abuse.
Moreover, what’s dangerous about this divisive atmosphere is that when there is no unity in mainstream society, it appears on the fringes in forms of Nazism and fascism.
Letting matters develop as they have been will result in an even more divided, contentious, and violent American society. Therefore, unity of the entire American people is imperative to keeping the American society intact.
Having said that, I do hold great hope in the unity of the American people. It requires major changes in the country’s socio-economic infrastructure, most notably in education and the media, but I believe that America’s pioneering spirit can bring about a positive, creative transformation during these tough times.
In terms of education, as I proposed in one of my previous columns, the establishment of basic income for participating in connection-enriching educational programs would tackle the problem of social division directly, and bring about improvements in the economy, as well as in social health and well-being.
In terms of the media, instead of the constant barrage of divisive messaging, the media should aim to promote ideas and examples of the kind of unity America needs. It should primarily address America’s main problem head on: the country is divided, which negatively affects its citizens and weakens the country, and that the way to a greater America is to work on achieving nationwide unity.
America still has a chance. By emphasizing the unity of the entire American society, the American spirit can be revived. Today’s American Dream, however, needs to revise its surge of motivation through a new vision: people of different cultures coming together to find happiness through social cohesion. If the American people don’t realize their need for unity in a positive way, then the negative versions of unity — Nazism and fascism — will increasingly close in on society from both sides.
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