“A threat to the nation’s well-being” — that’s what 36% of Republicans think of Democrats, and what 27% of Democrats think of Republicans.
This is not Blacks hating Whites. It’s not Whites hating Blacks. It’s not any ethnic antagonism or fear. It’s purely ideological.
It’s like Nazis hating Jews, or Jews hating Nazis. It’s like Jews hating Palestinians, or Palestinians hating Jews.
It’s like Christians hating Muslims, or Muslims hating Christians.
And it shuts down dialog, which is the best solution to ideological conflicts, and which is not possible at all in international or interethnic conflicts, where the differences transcend mere differences of opinion.
Today, Pew looked further into these same poll-results, and they found “islands of agreement amid [a] sea of polarization.”
In this latest analysis, on June 26th, they write: “Take, for example, the question of whether the U.S. government should collect telecommunications data as part of its anti-terrorism efforts. Opposition to such practices is highest at both ends of the political spectrum: 69% of Steadfast Conservatives, 61% of Business Conservatives and 58% of Solid Liberals say they disapprove of government data collection.” Almost throughout the political spectrum, then, Americans are strongly opposed to the Obama Administration on that. However, some groups of liberals support the Administration on this matter, simply because the President is (at least nominally) a “Democrat.” That shows how terribly difficult it will be to move this nation toward a workable consensus on issues.
Although the hatred of Democrats by Republicans is somewhat stronger than the hatred of Republicans by Democrats, the hostility on both sides is strong, and it cannot come down on either side if there is not developed a common and widely shared base of ideological agreement in this country. That is the only hope.
These findings will be of interest to both Parties.
If this country is still a democracy — if it’s even possible for democracy to function with such sharp ideological hostilities — then maybe there will be able to exist some common ground on which the country can come together and overcome America’s slide into governmental dysfunction.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.