The Red White and Blue. Staten Islander

The Red Right/White and Blue, Left Black/Brown Gap: The Great American Political Party Divide

Talk to your neighbors. Family. Friends. You’ll quickly discover politics is a big part of life these days. And, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll also realize that the rift between those on the Left, and those on the Right, has never been wider. Of course, there’s good reason for this. Our American brothers and sisters just don’t see eye to eye. In fact, that’s an understatement.

In reality, there exist two Americas. And those two nations aren’t separated simply by class or income, education or location. Those demographics may overlap with the two Americas, but that’s just incidental. They’re truly separated by ideas, by ideology. Really, it goes far deeper. Ideas and ideology are shaped by worldview and perspective, by our very personalities and propensities.

The Red Right/White and Blue, Left Black/Brown Gap. Image Artwork: Pat, Staten Islander

The Red White and Blue. Image Credit- Staten Islander

Americans on the Right and the Left are fundamentally different, it seems, and there may be little way to bridge the gap, save through deliberate attempts to do so, trying to understand that we may be fundamentally different, and will never be even close to being the same. We aren’t going to bring every person to our “side.” Not everyone will share our view, regardless of how eloquently, or passionately, we state it.

There are different kinds of minds, of people. And like minds tend to group together, almost unconsciously. This process just happens; it isn’t something we set out to do. The following is likely going to anger you, have you vocalizing your disagreement with fervor. Maybe cursing. And, that’s may be so, whether you’re on the Left or the Right. That’s fine; none of this is strictly true, it’s just a general outline of what’s the case. So please, take this all with a grain of salt. A very large grain, a block or chunk, even. In any event, here we go:

People on the Left value creativity. Self-expression. Progressivism. Liberalism. Cooperation. Spontaneity and intuition. Youth. Peace and defense. Testing boundaries. The arts. Music. Expressive movement. Individuality and forging one’s own way through life. Life happens when it does. Playfulness. Live for today. Human rights are paramount. Black and brown people are beautiful, as well as those who love them. SOUL. Defending the underdog is key. Weird is good, and weirder is better. Compassion means caring for everyone, helping those in need. All lives matter. Religion serves to help the faithful help others less fortunate. Gnosticism and individual spirituality is where it’s at.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes Image Credit:  Home&Gardners.com – CC

Symbols are largely expressive, either creative ways of showing membership in the funky-punky Left, or expressing ideas that set one apart. Experience matters most, and the value of life lies in experience. Expanding consciousness. People on the Left care about animal rights. Human rights. The environment. Flexibility and understanding and adaptability are essential. Education serves to enlighten, to broaden horizons.

Sensitivity is most valuable. The feminine is the ideal. The Democrat, the socialist, the communist, are the ones who know. There is hope in the future, looking to the children for guidance. The disenfranchised should hold their heads high. The privileged should know they had help. Their pronouns are they, ze, zem, and zeir.

Now, folks on the Right are essentially the opposite. Achievement is important, if not essential. Wisdom gained through age. Maturity. War and offense. Competition. Conformity and tradition rank highest. Life’s milestones should happen on schedule. Seriousness. Plan for tomorrow. Sober-mindedness. Faith focuses on judging others, those daring to skirt the rules, religious or otherwise, threatening stability. RATIONALITY. White is right, when it comes to skin. Animals are here to serve us. The family is the foundation. One’s career, one’s income, and one’s status are worth quite a lot. Jobs matter. Religion is about keeping the faith, about the faith of the forefathers.

There’s a great deal of importance ascribed to materialism, and shared symbols show others how well someone on the Right is doing, financially. A straight-laced facade is the ideal, a no-nonsense visage chiseled through hard work. Might is right. Music is important, but the music is more about shared traditional culture, the shared experience, than it is about pure expression. What matters most here?

Portraying oneself as caring about the group, about the shared conservative values. The world is here to serve, and not the other way around. Rigidity and law and order are essential. Education prepares us for the world and a job. Strength and stoicism are most valuable. The masculine is the ideal. The Republican, the capitalist, the Conservative know best. There is hope in the past, looking to ancestors for guidance. The privileged should be proud. They worked hard. Their pronouns are he and she, ye and we.

Does this sound about right so far? Of course, I’m guilty of stereotyping, but it’s done in the service of elucidation, and not condemnation. So, please bear with me a bit longer.

A college kid identifying with Leftist values may have long hair. Or blue hair. A rainbow purse. Or a man bag. Unconventional dress. A car covered in stickers showing that they care about the Earth, about the downtrodden, about underground music.

A college kid identifying with Rightist values may have a neat ‘do, short hair carefully combed. Khakis and penny loafers. A briefcase. A stylish thousand dollar pocketbook. A car that may not be late model, but still a vehicle driven by the successful class. Or, a big truck blasting tunes, the singer crooning about the lows and highs of country living.

Each wishes to portray to others how they feel inside, and about their larger reality.

Of course, there are always exceptions. And these exceptional people are the ones who can bring us any hope of bridging the gap. There are gay conservatives. There are Liberals in the military and police forces. The artists and musicians who value the Second Amendment and love President Trump. The Liberals who refuse to buy into each and every talking point that their “side” offers.

The issue is, for the most part, our choice of friends, our taste in music, and the shows we watch just reinforce our already starkly contrasting values and ideas. We are, essentially, living in echo chambers, and social media only intensifies this. And so, the dark chasm, that abysmal rift, grows deeper with time.

So how do we reach out and foster understanding, bridging the Great Divide, the Right and the Left? Perhaps, it’s those exceptional Centrists, the Moderates, who are not bound to pick a side, “lock, stock, and barrel”, but rather, for whatever internal or environmental reasons, have picked and chosen those aspects of each “side” that appeals to them, personally, checking off only what suits them.

Can we, the Red and Blue, ever see eye to eye? The answer, most likely, is no. However, we can learn to appreciate all of our fellow citizens, and what each and every person and viewpoint has to offer the American scene, and our Global Village.

It’s an asset to know and understand that human society needs both global, as well as local, and national values. We need to be both rigid and yielding, depending on how, when, and where. We can all be more balanced individuals and communities once we understand that each of us is limited by our individual experience and viewpoint, by our very upbringing, neurology, and choices. We must embrace the future, without utter disregard for what those countless generations that have come before us have contributed. We must have a more holistic understanding that what works for one person may not work for the next.

We must value both the “masculine” as well as the “feminine.” We cannot force our views on the entire populace; we have to remember that what makes a civilization truly great, is to comprehend this hidden truth. If there were only Republicans, life would suck. If there were only Democrats, life would probably also suck. Americans have to develop understanding, empathy, and compassion. There is only one Republic, though, and that will shatter without this understanding.

We must develop both our analytical intelligence, as well as our intuition. There is just no other way. No one man or woman, machine or animal, has all the answers. The sooner we can all realize this, the sooner we will stop yelling at those who view, nay perceive, the world differently than ourselves, talking only to a captive audience that only nods its head endlessly in agreement.

We may never agree on core issues, but we can at least agree to listen, to disagree, and to respect one another. Mutual respect is what we all need, but what the Left and Right lack toward each another, as groups, and as individuals. Neither side is perfectly correct; in reality, we all need each other, and what each of us has to bring to our shared world.

In reality, our future must be drawn from the best both the Left and Right have to offer. Even China’s free market experiment is wildly successful, with the greatest number of new billionaires hailing from the land of the red star. If we neglect to balance our free enterprise with social support systems, such as state-run police departments, firefighting services, subways, buses, sanitation, social welfare nets, and more, we risk running into issues yet unforeseen.

The perfect society may require a balance of both outlooks, drawing from two disparate mindsets that must somehow coexist, side by side. We must learn to learn from each other, seek to understand that some Americans are very different than ourselves, and their experience, and inner understanding, can bring each of us insight, no matter how repelling we find them.

So the next time, as a White girl with pink hair and a rainbow purse, or a Black guy with dreads whose quest to help the homeless defines you, think twice before judging the girl in your class who wears skirts, shoes, and neat blouses, or the guy who has a 1950s haircut and talks about his church endlessly. And, vice-versa. It isn’t that clothes don’t matter; they do.

It’s that if you choose to ignore these “others”, you risk an indelible and remarkable learning experience that cannot come to you in any other way; you risk losing connection to people you’d otherwise never interact with; you risk losing the opportunity to grow fully into Who You Really Are.

22 Comments

  • Avatar Nikki 777 says:

    Nice. I found this more interesting that I thought I would have. Very insightful. I agree that not everyone is a “typical” Democrat or Republican, but I find that most are. Sadly. I know so many families that no longer have Thanksgiving because relatives have grown so far from one another in terms of their political beliefs. This is a refreshing editorial and I think it will only do good. Staten Island is more integrated than a lot of places, at least the North Shore is.

    • Avatar taking a break from counting my benjamins says:

      I literally live five minutes walking from Shoprite on Richmond and Forest and there’s no racism here. No one here is going to judge you based on your skin color or religion. Come correct and you’ll be respected. Otherwise, you getting served SON!

      You could be Korean or Mexican or Black or White or Green. No one here cares. The rest the island needs a minute to catch up. My cuz lives out in 313 and that’s the only other place I’ve been that is like Staten Island.

    • Avatar Italian-Irish-German-Polish-Dutch Dude says:

      Not anything is typical, but you have to admit that MOST gay people are Dems. OK, there’s that British dude…Milo Yiannopoulos. He’s also a devout Catholic.

      We’re all full of contradictions. When you really come down to it

      One thing though…the Dems traditionally were FOR segregation and slavery. I know that’s hard to believe but their approach to black people has been sketchy. After segregation, they pushed to create a welfare underclass. Did they fight the new slavery of black mass incarceration?

      Nope. Not at all. And remember Bill Clinton STARTED workfare. So there’s that. Makes you really wonder. And black unemployment is at lowest numbers under Trump tho even he said don’t trust the numbers when he was running. So by that logic we still shouldn’t.

      So before you sat black people are always Dems, check this out:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_Republicans

      There’s Condaleeza Rice and Ret. 4 star General Colin Powell. And so many more.

      I know it’s way easier to stereotype but stereotypes aren’t always accurate.

      Maybe in many cases they are, but not always.

      Good article.

      BTW, Staten Island is a good melting pot. I’m also from the North Shore (Westerleigh) and where I shop at Forest Ave is as mixed as it gets. My own ancestry is mixed, tho 100% from Europe. Still, a few generations ago Irish and Italian would have been unheard of.

      My own politics? Not telling. That’s what the (secret) ballot box is for. 😉

  • Tom Tom Tom Tom says:

    I liked what you had to say. I seldom hear anyone bring this kind of argument up anymore. Brave to say all this. I think only millenials will truly understand. Not to be rude, but older people seem to like divisiveness. It’s just the kind of entertainment they were raised on.

    At the rate we’re headed, no one is going to even talk to people who don’t see eye to eye with them.

    What this paper (what you guys call paperless lol) lacks in content is more than made up by quality. You’re on my top bookmark list.

    Please keep up the good work. Also,how do I submit an article?

    • Avatar \/i\/iA/\/ says:

      It’s more like the Right has the means here. And by separating the left and right, you separate conscience from real economic activity. This divide is artificial and hurts us all. We need the economic activity the the right brings, tempered by the “heart” of the left. My opinion at least.

  • Avatar jannafe says:

    …and so what’s your point?

    “Pat” are YOU a liberal?

    this story makes no sense at all

    wasted a good moment on nothing

  • Avatar ¿Qué onda wey? says:

    I am full Mexican, born and raised in Puerto Richmond and go to PRHS.

    Most of my family is here now.

    I feel right at home. Mostly, other ethnic groups respect us. Even South American kids say ¿Qué onda carnal? ¿Cómo estás? to be respectful and have a little fun.

    Politics is not life. You have to remember this is all just a game and life moves like the waves. Don’t put your heart in stupidity.

  • Avatar LIBERAL BAPTIST IN 10303 says:

    I detest stereotypes.

    So here’s a list for you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_conservatism_in_the_United_States

    Also this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Baptists

    I don’t think you should be spreading hate like this. People are not the way you say all the time. There are already exceptions to the ideas you have.

    • Nancy P Nancy P says:

      You too? What’s wrong with everybody here?

      DO you know how to read?

      The writer did not try to spread hate. You’re just too ***** to get it. He’s just trying to make a point. and uses stereotypes to teach. I get it. Reading these comments I am scared to think such **** people are out there walking around.

  • Avatar Dee East 33 says:

    This is all too true. After my grandparents passed, may God rest their souls, my family split up ten ways.

    Everyone just hates now. My aunt is a Hillary fan. My parents love Trump. And so it goes.

    My whole fam is split along political lines. And I DO mean split. No contact. At all.

    I personally liked this article. We learned in public school to think critically and not just accept ideas. But now people young and old do just that.

  • Avatar G G G V says:

    Stereotypes can only do harm.

    Plus, the idea that we need to be more holistic is a Lefty agenda to dilute the Right. Nice try.

  • Avatar Patty says:

    Environmentalism shouldn’t be about politics. Plastics in the oceans affect us all. Anyone with half a brain can realize this. Now carbon credits, that’s a different story. I agree it may be a plan to cripple Europe/USA by other interests. But have you seen the floating plastic in the Pacific? That’s real. No way around it.

  • Avatar Longhair Jeff says:

    I have long hair and I am a Conservative. And a Veteran.

    My boys are different:

    -One with long hair, apolitical

    -One with short hair, Democrat

    -One with a crew cut, enlisted Marine, Republican

    Hairstyles don’t really tell you about a person. But I get the author’s point. Nice article. It’s about time the media starts trying to bring America together. We don’t need a civil war.

    • Avatar Ronnie says:

      why the long hair then? what message are you trying to send?

      • Avatar Longhair Jeff says:

        Message? HAHAHA

        My hair isn’t a message. I just don’t cut it.

        My wife says it’s sexy and I’m here to please HER not you.

        Stop trying to read into everything. America is about this:

        God made man >>free<<. Get it yet?

  • Avatar † RƎYNOLD † says:

    seriously this paper should win an award

  • Avatar STOP PROGRAM II says:

    WE MUST PRESERVE OUR DEMOCRACY.

    POLITICAL DOGMA IS DEATH.

    RELIGIOUS DOGMA IS DEATH.

    LEFT OR RIGHT, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THIS.

    YOU ARE AMERICANS FIRST.

    FORGET DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS FOR ONE SECOND.

    RESPECT YOUR FELLOW AMERICANS.

    EVEN IF THEY DON’T AGREE WITH YOU.

    NO ONE IS 100% CORRECT. DON’T BE A BABY,

    WE CAN ONLY RESPECT ALL HIUMANKIND AND ALL LIFE ONCE WE STOP SQUABBLING ABOUT NONSENSE.

    UNDERSTANDING AND COMPASSION SPRING FORTH NATURALLY FROM INTELLIGENCE.

    STOP.

    BEING.

    STUPID.

    NO POLITICAL THEORY IS 100% “RIGHT.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *