U.S. Needs To Be More ‘United’

Susan Page
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Wednesday - November 03, 2010
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I can’t remember a time in history - at least my history - when Americans have been pitted against each other in the way they’ve been during this election. Not just political party to party - Democrats vs. Republicans - but ethnically and in the workplace. Our once-unified population, together under the banner of the red, white and blue, has been so sliced and diced into “demographic” groups that it’s hard to remember sometimes that we’re all Americans.

I recently saw a very moving ceremony of immigrants being sworn in as new citizens. They had been through mandatory classes and had been tested on this great nation’s history. Tears flowed as they pledged allegiance to their adopted country, one that offers so much promise and hope. I wonder if they knew they were already being categorized by some political special-interest group that wants to manipulate them.

“Divide and conquer ” has been around since before the Roman Empire. It’s a political (and military) strategy in which one entity divides another into smaller groups with the hope of controlling each group. It has been used by Britain to conquer and colonize, used in India, Africa, the Middle East, in Germany.


And today it has become prevalent in the U.S. - as in, let’s encourage workers to hate their bosses and Hispanics to hate whites (well, at least those who object to open borders), the middle class to hate those who work on Wall Street, insurance companies, banks and anyone who flies first class, pit locals against haoles (as seen recently on Hawaii Five-0) and even cat lovers to hate dog owners. It’s gotten pretty ridiculous.

President Obama said in a recent speech that, regarding the economy, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We’ve gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they’ve gotta sit in back.” So much for being a president of all the people. So much for leaving segregation back in the 1950s where it should stay, race out of politics and keeping shameful bus rides out of the political lexicon. So much for a new day in politics as promised. Divide and conquer.

The middle class is a group that has politicians working overtime to siphon off politically, using tactics to identify middle-class enemies. But the middle class (I hate the term “class” so famously used to split us) doesn’t belong exclusively to one party or any party, nor is it stagnant in our great system of opportunity that says you can climb out of any socioeconomic status if you work smart and hard enough.

Republicans aren’t pure, either, when it comes to the demographic divide, but generally the division is focused on issues, not race, class, gender or ethnicity. I think this is where the Democrats failed in this election nationwide (as MidWeek goes to press the election’s outcomes are unknown). People in the U.S. care more about specific issues affecting them than whether other teachers or other Asians or other steel workers or other doctors agree with them.


Regardless of how some of our media has negatively characterized the Tea Party movement, it has been driven by issues: taxes, overspending and government abuse of power.

I dislike being pigeonholed or categorized (white, old, blonde, haole?) for purposes of political manipulation. Maybe you do, too.

I’d rather focus on what we agree on - our government not recklessly spending our tax dollars, for example - not what divides us.

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