Skip to main content

A coming 'Great Divorce?'

It seems like an eternity ago that Bill Kristol raised the name of columnist David French for the role Evan McMullin eventually occupied: a conservative independent alternative candidate to the radically unacceptable Donald Trump. Since then, French and the National Review have maintained their integrity as regards Mr. Trump, but have often been more sympathetic toward him than I have been.

Still, it's hard to disagree with this column by French,  in which he points out that while the civil war metaphor is a bit overblown, it is not even slightly unrealistic to say that we as a nation are drifting toward our ideological schism becoming a political one. "Blue" and "Red" America differ from each other so radically in basic values, in fundamental assumptions about life and the universe, and most of all in how they see themselves and the other that I don't think it's at all an exaggeration to see us as drifting toward the very cataclysm the Civil War avoided- disunion, but more or less peacefully and by mutual, disgusted consent.

It's certainly possible to overstate the case. Like French, I think Dennis Prager- with whom I disagree profoundly about Trump but for whom I have a great deal of respect- overstates it when he claims that we are even now in the midst of an unbloody but real civil war. I am not willing to go so far. I believe that we still have enough that unites us that it's possible to pull back from the abyss of that radical a condition.

But our national schism is nevertheless profound. It touches everything from our spiritual lives to our attitude toward the family to our understanding of the function of law and government. I remain bemused by the existence of a kind of island in the sea of red called "libertarianism," which seems to me in many respects more like Blue America than Red, especially as regards social attitudes; I'm not sure where libertarians would end up in the "divorce" French foresees.  But unless something dramatic happens, I don't think it's at all impossible that somewhere down the line we might decide that we have too little in common and too much separating us to remain a single society.

I would like to have us avoid that. And if we're going to avoid it, this is a time in which we need to be building bridges. Instead, we're burning them. Each side blames the other for all of America's problems while accepting none of the blame itself. Each side demonizes and misrepresents the other, seeing them less as mistaken than as evil, not as people to be convinced so much as objects of disdain fit only for destruction.

That's why Stand Up Republic and the McMullin movement are so important. That's why The Centrist Project is so important. That's why the most compelling necessity we face in American politics is rebuilding the Center and starting to rebuild those bridges. The day still seems far off when our political differences become so pronounced that we can no longer share the same polity. But for the first time in my life, and probably for the first time since the Civil War, it is no longer unimaginable.


Popular posts from this blog

McMullin, Kasich, Hickenlooper, Huntsman, or somebody else sane in 2020!

I don't expect to be disenfranchised in 2020. I'm looking forward to Evan McMullin running against President Trump and whatever left-wing extremist the Democrats nominate. McMullin may or may not run for the Senate next year, and he may or may not run for president as an independent again next time around, but the nation can't afford to lose its most eloquent and intelligent critic of the populist takeover of the Republican party and the Executive Branch. We need the man in public life.

But interesting alternatives have developed. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been mentioned as a potential primary challenger for Mr. Trump. I hope somebody continues the fight for the soul of my former party, even though I believe it to be a lost cause. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is reportedly also considering a challenge to Mr. Trump. While I tend to see him at this point as somewhere to the left of where a candidate I would feel comfortable supporting might be, I would wish him well. Still, I see…

A modest proposal for a shocking innovation which is completely within the rules but which would, if adopted, revolutionize college football

I call it defense.

The idea- crazy as it may sound- is to supplement the scoring of points by your offense with an attempt to stop the other team from scoring them. Yeah, I know.  Really "out there," isn't it? But it has a history of winning not only games but championships. Modern college teams should try it more.

I'm a bit bummed about the Rose Bowl outcome but amused by the score. It seems that certain conferences aren't sure whether they're playing college football or high school basketball! I've noticed that in the scores of Sooner games. Last season the nation's college teams set a record by scoring an average of slightly more than 30 points each per game. That's a lot. Historically, that's a REAL lot.

The final score of the Rose Bowl was 54-48, though to be fair that was in double overtime. But to get there, the teams had to be tied 45-45 at the end of regulation! Last year was even worse. Southern Cal beat Penn State 52-49- in regulat…

Reflections on the present and future of my Blackhawks

As this season from hell creeps to its close at an excruciating pace and makes all of us devote more of our attention to spring training for the Cubs than we otherwise might, there are calls for the heads of Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and even the greatest coach in Blackhawks history, Joel Quenneville.

No general manager or coach could have made Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford healthy or prevented Toews and Keith and Saad from having the worst seasons of their careers or foreseen that a series of trades most of which made perfect sense at the time wouldn't pan out. The Hawks are one season removed from the second-best regular season in their history. This will be the first time in a decade that they haven't made the playoffs.

With the exception of the Pens, maybe the Kings and (for different reasons) the Golden Knights, every other team in the NHL would kill to have won three Stanley Cups in the past decade. In fact, only the Hawks, the Pens, the Kings, the Wings, and the Brui…