They were unified for centuries under the Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1910), and share the same language and essential culture. Yet for the last six decades and more, North Korea and South Korea have been divided. Why do North and South Korea exist where once there stood a unified kingdom?
In the middle of the 19th century, the United States divided along what is known today as the Mason-Dixon line. The divisive issue was slavery, and it led to a war being fought, 620,000 lives lost and indeterminate property damage/loss.
Today we stand at a fissure that seems all but destined to become a chasm, an abyss, in the foreseeable future. As the right moves farther right, the left moves farther left, what is left at center but a hole? Think, if you will, of a rubber band. Use your imagination to pull one end right and the other left. Good. Now pull harder with both hands … pull harder until … SNAP!
The United States Constitution established a government that is durable, flexible and able to rise to most challenges, but it is not infallible. Our government can be broken and is rapidly approaching that point.
It does not much matter which side gave the final tug that broke the rubber band. Both hands got snapped, both were pulling too hard, and both are responsible. That said, one hand or the other by itself cannot fix the rubber band. It will take both hands, working together, to repair the rubber band.
As a nation, we cannot continue to argue over every single issue that confronts us. The immigrant issue, to cite just one example. There is no simple solution. Europe is struggling with the same problems, and the solution is not going to be found in extreme measures such as deporting and barring all immigrants or, on the other hand, accepting unlimited numbers of refugees. The solution, as with almost everything in life, lies in the art of compromise. And make no mistake, compromise is an art, it requires educated, moderate thinkers who are willing to work as a team to make things happen, not the politicians spewing rhetoric from either side of the fence.
Another example is the divisive issue of healthcare. One side would have us deny even basic medical services to anyone who cannot pay the exorbitant fees charged by doctors, laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies while the other lobbies for unlimited healthcare for all, paid for by the wealthiest 1%. Neither is a solution, both are rhetoric, and yes, there is a solution, a happy medium.
On the issue of raising the minimum wage: The current level of $7.25 per hour is below the poverty level for a single person, let alone a family of 4 or more. One side thinks it should not be raised at all, the other calls for a 100% increase to $15 per hour. What if we settle somewhere around $12 per hour? The poverty level for a family of four is currently $28,410 per annum in the U.S., which works out to approximately $11.66 per hour. Some would argue that this is too much to pay a high school student working evenings at McDonalds. Maybe so. Maybe there could be an exclusionary clause to the effect that for people under 18 years of age there is a cap of $9 per hour. Note that I am not proposing this, I am merely throwing out reasonable compromise ideas, which is what members of Congress, republican and democrat alike, should be doing. Instead, they are trying to bring the federal government to a screeching halt by sidling further away from compromise and far more to the extreme outer reaches from which there may be no clear path back toward the center line.
I accept and respect that conservatives will vote for a republican and liberals will vote for a democrat. I accept and respect that we each have different ideologies, values, and beliefs. It is what makes us unique, it is what sets us apart as a nation, and it is not a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing, however, when our divisiveness leads us to hatred, causes us to forget that we are “One Nation, Indivisible … “