Americans realize that something is wrong with their country. That’s why you’ve started hearing more talk about civil war. That’s why, for as long as anyone can remember, large percentages of Americans, usually majorities, think the country is on the wrong track. It’s why things like prepping and survival seeds are on the way up. It’s almost like a sixth sense screaming in people’s heads that all is not well.
Of course all is not well and our country has now been dysfunctional for so long that many of us have lost sight of how things are supposed to work in the first place. For example….
1. The media are lapdogs
We hear a lot of talk about a “free press,” about “all the news that’s fit to print,” and about “watchdog journalism.” America’s press was never truly unbiased, but at one time, reporters did at least make a serious attempt to keep up appearances. No longer. Today, our mainstream media is just as biased as a government-controlled media that says what the people in power want it to say at gunpoint. When the press is uniformly hostile and biased against all things conservative and so uniformly favorable to all things liberal that it might as well be an arm of the Democratic Party, we don’t have a free press in the way that the Founding Fathers envisioned a free press: we have propaganda outfits going under a different name.
2. Political incentives strongly favor a lack of cooperation
In our system of divided government, there are an awful lot of legislative things that can only be done when both sides cooperate. Unfortunately, there are powerful forces incentivizing the parties not to work together. First and foremost, as we’ve become more partisan since the sixties for Democrats and eighties for Republicans, cooperation that helps the other side in any way at all has become extremely unpopular amongst the base of the party doing it. So, a politician who cooperates with the other team is going to get a lot of grief and maybe even a primary challenge. Worse yet, the most successful political tactic for both parties over the last few years has been simply refusing to work with the other side in any significant way. Time and time again, the American people have rewarded the party that refuses to cooperate by putting it into power. As a practical matter, this makes it nearly impossible to effectively govern the country.
3. Voters on the other side are hated
Despising the president or prominent members of Congress from another party is nothing new. That has been going on far longer than anybody reading this has been alive. What’s new and disturbing is the hatred the Left aims at ordinary people who support the other side. Normally, when one side loses an election, it starts figuring out how to reach the people who went the other way. Now, we have Democrats who condemn Republicans as their “enemies” and assault people just for wearing MAGA gear. There was a time when politicians actually wanted to convince people who voted for the other side to vote for them in the next election, but Democrats seem more content to divide America into two bristling, hate-filled tribal camps. Over the long haul, it remains to be seen how well that will work as an electoral strategy, but it’s certainly not good for America.
4. The states aren’t supposed to be this weak
Federalism is the safety valve on the pressure cooker that is America. The more you force the hippies in Berkeley and the cowboys in Dallas to live exactly the same way, the more unhappy one of those groups is going to be. The 17th Amendment, which took the power to select senators away from state legislatures in favor of a popular vote was an enormous mistake. It dramatically shifted power from the states to a centralized bureaucracy in D.C. that is incapable of meeting the needs of the people it governs as well as the states.
5. Politics isn’t supposed to be this all-encompassing
For long stretches of American history, people were able to be largely indifferent to politics because it had such a small impact on their life. Today, you can’t get away from it. Not only has the government become this Kraken with its tentacles shoved into every part of American life, you get politics shoved in your face at school, in Hollywood, in music, in science and even the NFL. It’s like an infection spreading through every part of society that increasingly keeps people from coming together and sharing a bond outside of the political arena.