If there was a thermometer that measured political polarization, the mercury would have already busted out the glass top spraying most of us either red or blue.
There’s no middle ground. According to many who are playing identity politics game, you are either a “Libtard” or a “Nazi.” Some have even suggested we’re on the verge of another Civil War. This polarization has left many pondering: How did we get here? Could it have been avoided? Can anything be done?
Now, many on the left will point to the rise of Donald Trump being the source of much of this polarization. No doubt, Trump’s election has contributed, but this was building way before Trump ever announced his intentions of running.
Sir Issac Newton’s third law of physics states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This seems to be true of politics as well. One of the reasons the Nazis formed the Sturmabteilung (aka the Brown Shirts) was due to violent communists disrupting their meetings. The communists pushed – the Nazis reacted.
In 1995, the leftist organization, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) formed. This activist organization has a history of denying people’s rights through disruptions, violence, and property damage. In 2002, the American Civil Liberties Union turned up FBI documents alleging links to terrorist organizations. BAMN has also been associated with Antifa whose activities have been described as “domestic terrorist violence”.
In my opinion, the violence at Charlottesville wouldn’t have happened if not for these previous activities by organizations like BAMN and Antifa. Just like the German communists and the Nazis. BAMN/Antifa probably feels totally justified in their actions. They may even have some valid concerns. However, the violence committed by Eric Canton (Antifa), Yvette Felarca (BAMN) and James Alex Fields Jr. (Charlottesville’s car driver) isn’t justified.
There have been plenty of other incidents emphasizing this political polarization.
For example, Hunter Richard, 16, was recently with some friends at San Antonio Whataburger wearing a MAGA hat. Kino Jimenez, 30, found Richard’s hat offensive and stole the hat off of Richard’s head and then threw a drink at the minor while yelling obscenities. Then Jimenez left Whataburger with Richard’s hat, claiming that he was going to burn the hat in his fireplace. (Texas weather in July????) Richard posted a video of the event online. Police arrested Jimenez has and his employer terminated his employment. Jimenez was also a member of the Green Party, which rescinded his membership because of his actions.
There is no way to prove that Maxine Waters’ recent comments urging supporters to confront Trump administration officials influenced Jimenez, but her rhetoric surely isn’t helping the current climate.
Violence and confrontational politics aren’t new. This tension has been building for decades, even going back to abortion clinic bombings. Weather Underground bombings, and many other prior activities.
The incidents highlighted are symptoms of a bigger problem. The real question is: what is fueling this polarization? This country is a pressure cooker which is about to explode sending the lid only God knows where.
Is there a way to lower steam?
To understand how to do this, we first must investigate why the heat is building?
The Supreme Court provides a clue.
Justice Kennedy’s recent announcement of his retirement threw many on the left into a tizzy. Why? For decades, the left has used the Supreme Court to push much of its agenda by using expanding definitions of various clauses and amendments of the Constitution inconsistent with the original intent, including the original meaning of the 14th Amendment. Now, the political left fears Trump will appoint another Judge Gorsuch. By the end of his administration, Trump could mold the Supreme Court into a 7-2 majority in favor of the conservatives. This Court could then reverse many of the progressive’s agenda-driven successes.
Now, did the left take into account that their successes using judicial activism might create some sort of pushback by those who oppose their ideology? Again, see Newton’s Law above.
It should be noted that the left’s strategy using the Court’s in this way sort of backfired on them when it came to SCOTUS opinions involving gun control. If the federal government has the authority to “incorporate” the Bill of Rights onto the states, it follows that the individual states are limited on the type of gun controls laws that they can pass because of the Second Amendment. Oops.
When Trump was elected, many on the left were outraged and protested. So much so that some in California actually discussed seceding. Well, many conservatives weren’t happy with eight years of President Obama. Many progressives weren’t thrilled with eight years of President Bush. I could keep going.
What would happen if Hillary Clinton was elected? Nearly half the country would have been angry like the other half the country was angry over Trump. Hillary could have tipped the Supreme Court solidly to the left. Conservatives would have objected and probably freaked out just like progressives did when Kennedy announced his retirement.
It should be pointed out that it naive to think that a “liberal” Court molded by Hillary wouldn’t reconsider “conservative” opinions relating to issues like gun control just like progressives fear aTrump’s court will overturn Roe v. Wade and other key opinions favoring the left.
Ironically, just like California, many Texas Republicans would have favored seceding if Hillary had won.
So, it doesn’t matter which party controls the White House, Congress or the federal courts, half the country is going to be annoyed. See the problem? The problem is that politicians in Washington D.C. have far too much control of our lives and we know it. With this control, those of the “other” party can force their objectionable views on the rest of us.
The answer: The Tenth Solution – decentralization.
The Tenth Amendment Center is now twelve years old. During our history, we have kept on the same message the whole time: Decentralize politics based on the Tenth Amendment. Much of what the federal government is involved in constitutionally should never have left the individual state’s jurisdiction.
This is true for many issues from gun control, to marijuana, and (do I dare to say it?) abortion. If we followed the Tenther prescription, states like Texas could remain conservative and California could remain progressive without interference from each other. Neither state could use Washington D.C. to force its ideology on the other. The dreaded polarization would decrease.
In our society, corporations are forced to compete for our dollars. Why not make the individual states do the same for our tax dollars? If you are a conservative living in California, you can choose to use your natural right of free speech to convince others of your position, you can drive change through the state’s political system, or you can just move to Texas. The same is true if you’re a progressive living in Texas. You can pick any of the 50 states and move to one that agrees most with your worldview.
Populations will move to the states with the best ideas! And greater liberty!
Is it too late? Maybe. I don’t know. What I do know is if we don’t start implementing the Tenth Solution, the polarization thermometer won’t be repaired and this pressure cooker will blow. The Tenth Solution is the best way to turn down the heat.
- The Tenth Amendment Solution to Political “Civil War” - July 27, 2018
- Podcast: The Jefferson Years and Mr. Madison’s War - January 12, 2018
- Brion McClanahan on the Original Meaning and Purpose of the 2nd Amendment - July 7, 2016