Red vs. blue cultures and politics

McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter David Lightman recently wrote an article titled, “Two Americas.” Mr. Lightman focused his attention on demographics from congressional districts—Republican compared to Democrat. As he describes them: “redder-than-ever” and “bluer-than-ever,” respectively.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/28/238011/voters-in-2-rival-camps-will-elect.html (link)

The surprisingly rapid-changing cultural differences in this country account for our wearing either red or blue political colors—less “white” left in the fading red-white-and-blue America in which we oldsters grew up. Individualistic American values subvert to group identity and agenda. We are known by our “community,” not by our individuality or national solidarity.

Mr. Lightman provides a chart based on U. S. Census Bureau statistics that graphically shows the cultural characteristics of separated Americans and thus, a “polarized Congress.”

For those of us over age 65, 20 percent fall in the red Republican column; only 13 percent of us identify as Democrat in the blue column. In the 18-44 years old bracket, however, more than 37 percent show up Democrat, while less than 29 percent appear to be Republicans. Interestingly, twice as many military veterans (15.1 percent) favor the red elephant over the blue donkey (7.7 percent).

Big cultural differences in place of birth, area of residence and language also account for our divisions. Nearly 80 percent of Democrats were born in America; 18.4 percent are foreign born. Ninety-one percent of Republicans were born here and only 8.3 percent are foreign-born.

About 72 percent Republicans reside in urban areas; nearly 88 percent of Democrats live in urban centers. More than 27 percent of Republicans live in rural areas; a little more than 12 percent Democrats live in “fly-over” country.

And, increasingly, we are divided by language. More than 86 percent of Republicans speak English only at home, contrasted with 70 percent of Democrats. Twice as many Democrats (18.5 percent) speak Spanish at home than do Republicans (8.6 percent).

Of course, “Race” weighs heavily in American political numbers, although the government identifiers are politically corrected: “Hispanic” is not a sociological race (but most of them in the U.S. are probably South American Indians). Nearly 23 percent of Democrats are true-blue Hispanics. Less than 14 percent of Republicans identify as Hispanic.

Eighty-two percent of Republicans and nearly 65 percent Democrats are “White” (Caucasoid); 22 percent of Democrats and nearly 9 percent of Republicans are “Black” (Negroid).

All this explains the chronic complaint that Congress “Can’t get anything done.” In this republic our legislators historically found “common ground” to pass laws. Now they have deeply divided cultural constituencies and ideologies.

Frankly, in my opinion, under those conditions, it’s best that the U. S. Congress not enact legislation. We already have too many laws and regulations that favor political-interest groups and social “concerns”—not in the best interest of all our citizens who once thought we lived in a unified country.

Come to think about it, that idea has been largely a myth promoted since the War Between the States. Despite the patriotic rhetoric and propaganda, that unnecessary war divided America into two countries in the 1860s. A multicultural civil war that began in the 1960s with Pres. Johnson’s “Great Society,” sometimes called the “War on Poverty,” further fragmented our nation. With those federal damages done—and current destructive schemes— we can never be united States again.

I believe our only hope for relative future peace and prosperity rests on the return of our 50 States to their constitutional sovereignty—with the federal government limited to its original subordinate role in our lives. That will allow people who want to be Americans–or not–more freedom and greater choice of aligning with red- or blue- government States, reflecting the personal and ideological aspirations of their individual citizens. Still, we will be a deeply divided nation.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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