The Schism of Left & Right Thought

Surrender of Cornwallis at YorktownThis is my example of and an answer to a question about the great divide, and the antipathy between left vs right ideology. It reinforces my opinion about what is happening within our country. Professor emeritus Nell Irvin Painter makes several assertions based on her knowledge of history. Her points are well made, however I think her conclusions about Donald Trump are also part of the paranoia and fear on each side of the political equation. Why?

I hear her concerns and how she’s explaining historical reference for a continued theme of racism in America. I’m not discounting what she says in this video. I just think her conclusions about Donald Trump supporters don’t necessarily give an accurate portrait as to why he is the Republican nominee. She sees support for Donald Trump as a white backlash against people of color, especially as she concludes “Trump is the white voter answer against President Barack Obama”. Her statements include, “without Barack Obama as President, there would be no Donald Trump as nominee.” She goes on as I’ve heard repeated, any issues with the politics of Barack Obama as President are all racially motivated. She explains Republicans are to blame for any of the economic problems of the middle class and the poor, are because they (Republicans) vote for tax cuts for the rich. This is a classic Democrats rebuttal to nullify any argument that might prove bothersome. The historical data points she uses are to create her overall diatribe based on race against Donald Trump.

Allow me to examine what she says, not argue against but rather than ignore other data points, as she does here, I want to include hers and add to them. This isn’t me trying to create, a she’s wrong, and I’m right scenario, I’m suggesting that she’s right in some ways but her conclusions are simply feeding her ideological bias. That’s a strong accusation, but I ask for those who can be objective, look at what I write, too. I also hope we don’t fall into the simple trap of, she’s black and I’m white. That’s part of the reason I’m taking the time to write this, because her summary uses words like, “brutality”, “contaminating our whole society”, “inflicting”, “poisoning our public”, “too much blood to elect this man”. These are words which push people into survival mode, and as we know when people are pushed to those limits, the fear of imminent danger, initiates our baser instincts of fight or flight.

This is where we’re at today. Rather than trying to bring us closer together, almost every response to a debate or argument are, it’s based on racism, classicism, greed, xenophobia, or some other type of phobia. Where can someone with a differing point of view have an intelligent, thoughtful disagreement? It’s as bad as saying, if you disagree, than you’re anti-American, a communist, a left-wing looney, a liberal. The difference though in tone, is that descriptive labels or name calling, results in an immediate dismissal of the other person’s point of view. Words of fear or skewing the narrative towards instincts of survival, create the greatest polarization and dissolve any discussion onto an emotional argument. The words she used, as well as other people who have repeatedly used these phrases almost as often as saying these “right wing reactionaries” or conservatives are, “fostering extremism or hatred”, or sometimes use, “Godwin’s Law”.

I suggest these additional ideas for review.

The nation was started by imperfect people, who attempted to create a written foundation that was better than themselves. Even the founders who owned slaves were of the mind, they needed to do something, but the prevailing opinion in the new nation wasn’t as advanced. Many who owned slaves decided to release them upon their death. It may seem as a half-hearted effort, but this was the beginning of recognition something was very wrong. The whole question of having slaves was debated for the next 80 years. Sometimes those squabbles boiled over into more than verbal struggles. John Brown, a white man from Ohio, was among the most famous of the active abolitionists. In 1855, he along with 5 sons, began abolitionist reprisals in the Kansas Territory. A group of abolitionists were murdered by pro-slavery forces, and on May 24, 1856, he and his sons killed 5 pro-slavery advocates. This animosity towards slavery and it’s practice culminated in an open act of violence by a group of men led by John Brown against a federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry on October 16, 1859. Two days later, a militia, led by Colonel Robert E. Lee, killed 10 of Brown’s men, including 2 of his sons.

Two years before John Brown and his men went to Virginia, the Supreme Court came up with the infamous Dredd Scott decision. The court decided on a slave’s petition to find protection under the Constitution, they ruled, no person with African blood could become a U.S. citizen. It also altered the 1820 Missouri Compromise, which restricted slavery in some U.S. territories. Abolitionists saw little recourse under the law. The northern and southern states could no longer find a compromise. Not surprisingly those whose livelihoods depended on the use of slaves, decided they would no longer be part of the union and thus the beginning of secession and civil war. An overwhelming number of white people lost their lives for a black cause, although people still argue to this day, it was all about preserving the union. Argue as you must, the facts show the beginning of the end of slavery began when the first shots were fired at fort Sumter.

Decades went by, and whites dominated the nation through political & financial power, and educational opportunities. The 1950’s and especially the 1960’s found a resurgence in the struggle for equality. Many white people participated and also died during this historical change. Here are a couple of references from which to read.

These acts of courage don’t absolve anyone today who might still harbor resentment, prejudice, hatred, and anger toward others, but to the point, instilling fear in black people and guilt for people born white, isn’t going to advance a cause or create a way of bringing the masses together.

Let’s examine her claims that Republicans have placed America into a class based system and impoverished those who are in the middle. Most people stare at you blankly, and already left the conversation by now, but the facts require more depth than quick sound bites.

First, there’s plenty of blame to go around.
No democrat-controlled congress has balanced the federal budget in 40 years. No republican president has balanced the federal budget in 50 years.
IRS - data - Income vs SpendingHow does that effect you or I? The answer is in how the circulation of money works. Currency in circulation represents an agreed upon value. The value we place on something is arbitrary. We say this person’s time or material has a value. If the value changes, some may benefit, while others may not. It’s not the value assigned that is as important as what it represents to the individual and their time. Someone who possesses things with small valuation, requires more time to create or own things than someone with a lot of value assigned to their work or materials. The government will use some of this collective time to buy or expend for its services. The more the government spends, the more they withdraw from this means of trade. The government doesn’t create wealth, it distributes it, hopefully for public good.

President Eisenhower was the last Republican president to preside over a balanced budget in 1960. A Democrat-controlled Congress elected in 1958 approved the appropriations for that fiscal year in 1959.

The federal budget was balanced in fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. A Republican-controlled Congress approved the appropriations for each one of those years and a Democrat President, Bill Clinton signed them. When President Clinton governed with a Democrat-controlled Congress, in fiscal years 1994 and 1995, the federal government ran deficits of $203.2 billion and $163.9 billion respectively.

calendar days congress sworn inIn the U.S. we use the dollar to value our trade. When someone is wealthy, they possess more dollars or own materials with higher value, or a greater number of valuable materials. Therefore if the government requires 30% tax to their aggregate earned value, a tax on this value may be less of a hardship on those who have substantial wealth. This gave rise to the popular idea of a progressive tax. Those with more at their disposal, were in theory able to spend more for government, which was supposed to benefit all. Somewhere along the way, things got altered by those who had a lot of dollars and could use those dollars to get their friends, colleagues, and generally friendly sympathizers winning elections. Laws were changed to shelter some of this gain from the same level of tax as someone who was employed. Those with fewer dollars at their disposal, could vote, but the information they learned about candidates was from sources owned by the wealthy, and their colleagues.

Each political party has used their wealthy supporters to gain control of the political machinery that manages our nation. Overall, the Democrats generally out spend and are more successful at getting their party candidates into office. Congress has usually been controlled by the same party, and that has mostly been Democrats. If you examine this chart, you will see in all fairness, The Democrats have been far and away the ruling party in this country. Under President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s, a “war on poverty” was initiated. It’s interesting sometimes, and mind numbing at others, when someone claims this has helped the poor, then turns around a few minutes later and declares we’re even more impoverished than before and the Republicans who have been mostly in the minority are to blame.

I’ve read a fair amount about Donald Trump and I’ve seen shoddy hit pieces done by people using anything they can to confirm their bias. My conclusions are, I don’t know if he is a racist or just someone who hasn’t a filter between his brain and his mouth. I don’t think anyone, short of a clairvoyant knows exactly what motivates him. I think it’s partly ego, partly frustration with the political system, and mostly a blindness to his own faults. His lack of experience, his dramatic and often not well thought out public statements, and his overall impulsiveness, lead me to believe, he’s not the person I want to place my trust in to lead this nation.A recent set of interviews with the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal”, Tony Schwartz, paints a picture of him that is all too believable.

I can give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s a man that loves his family, and he’s someone that has been successful in making money. He’s not the most successful, even in New York, nor is he the best architect of New York landscape. To me, he wasn’t the most interesting person to watch on TV. In fact, I changed the channel if I saw him. I could never sit down and watch an entire episode of “Celebrity Apprentice”. All of the superlatives of which he likes to use in his public speeches, best, most, greatest, etc., simply show me a person caught up in his own shadow. I wish for him, continued good health, and a happy family life. Not one of my wishes include him as a leader of our nation.


Abraham Lincoln prophetically stated in 1838: “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa…combined could not by force take a drink from the Ohio in a trial of a thousand years…If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.

Further reading.