Splits have plagued human communities since the beginning of civilization:
- The ancient Greeks—Athens and Sparta
- Christianity—Roman Catholic and Protestant
- Islam—Sunni and Shia
- American colonists—Tories and Rebels
- France—Monarchists and Revolutionaries
- The United States—Unionists and Confederates
- Russia—Czarists and Communists
- The U. S. today—Liberals and Conservatives
Focusing on the split in America today, why is the nation so badly and evenly split along the lines of the two major political parties? “The problem is that Americans live amid two stalled partisan revolutions, held in stalemate by demographic parity.” (1) This is the explanation of a political analyst and typical of both journalists and academics but is too facile to be the actual underlying reason.
Journalist Nellie Bowles in speaking of “demographic parity” is talking about the identity many Americans have thinking of themselves as either a conservative or a liberal. Fellow journalist Maureen Dowd also sees the problem as one of identity if we can find a way to move forward.
She was driving through Arizona vacationing with her brother Kevin, a conservative and a Trump supporter. “As we drove, I contemplated the world of white patriarchy and colonialism that is now over, no matter how hard Donald Trump tries to milk it, and the bitter struggle to break out of the chrysalis with a new, inclusive American identity.” (2)
Even though the “issues” that originally provided the energy for the splits listed above have long since faded, the resentment and anger in some cases have persisted for decades and even centuries. These divisions within a community often end up destroying it. Why does this happen? There is a “one answer fits all” explanation for the persistence of divided communities.
Click on the link below to understand how human behavior can become so irrational.
Insight # 65: One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. – Carl Jung
- Introduction, The Collective Shadow, Shadow Projection, and Projecting the Collective Shadow in this blog and in the print version of Who Am I? (2013), by Roy Charles Henry, Chapter 5, pages 171-194.
- Homans, Charles. “Squad Goals.” The New York Times Magazine. November 11, 2018, page 19.
- Dowd, Maureen. “Of Vampires and Family Bonds.” The New York Times. November 25, 2018, page 4.