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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

America's division stems from politics

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Presidential campaigns are a contact sport. There may be a phony facade of friendly rivalry but beneath that veneer is a deep disdain and distrust.

And I'm not talking about the candidates. I'm talking about the American public.

Every four years, it seems, we divide ourselves along purely political lines to choose the most powerful leader in the free world.

But let's all admit - the polarization with this administration breaks new ground on the division in this country.

More concerning, however, is that the election, regardless of the outcome, will not change the dynamics of this division whatsoever.

All of the talk of compromise is just that - so much talk. When you have foundational differences of real substance, compromise is not on the table.

And a cursory examination of the political differences between the two parties clearly illustrates that this division is deeply rooted and without much of a substantive solution.

Unless you can imagine Obama winning re-election and also regaining a majority in the House and Senate, gridlock may be the best we can expect.

Or on the other end of the spectrum, if Romney wins and the GOP holds the House and regains the Senate, then you can expect change.

But few political pundits predict a sweep for either party.

The real problem is one of substance. Gay marriage and free contraceptives are just false issues that detract from the foundational problems we face.

These distractions suck precious time out of the discourse and deflect our attention far away from the important issues.

These distractions play nicely into the administration's hand. When we spend weeks discussing gay rights, we largely ignore the economy and our standing throughout the world.

The last and perhaps the most important factor in this political division lies squarely at the feet of the national media.

The once-trusted and revered national media has become little more than spokesmen for this administration. To ignore that truth is inconceivable. You know it and so do I.

So there you have the perfect storm.

Two political parties who lack agreement on virtually any issue, an administration hellbent on transforming this nation and a national media carrying the water for one side.

Don't pretend for one moment that an election in November will somehow right the ship of state. Regardless of the outcome, the choppy waters ahead may make us yearn for the calmer days behind us.

Now if that is the America you envisioned, vote to keep the same path we're traveling. Or be honest with yourself and accept - however reluctantly - that the grand experiment of 2008 has failed miserably.

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen