Drawing lines of division

Gov. Sarah Palin refers to Greensboro, N.C., as a âÄúwonderful little pocket of what I call the real AmericaâÄù and the âÄúvery patriotic âĦ pro-AmericaâÄù part of our country. To be fair, Barack Obama was probably referring to these same people when he stated last April that, when frustrated, small-town Americans have the tendency to âÄúcling to their guns and religion.âÄù Congresswoman Michele Bachmann wants to investigate congress to find out: âÄúAre they pro-American or anti-American?âÄù Republican rep. Robin Hayes recently proclaimed: “Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.” ItâÄôs hard to believe that these comments are coming from elected officials, who are designated to represent a diverse, multifarious population. They all seem to promote the idea that opposing views are contemptible and without merit. All of these comments donâÄôt belong in the realm of our political discourse. Still, they remain considerably more on the Republican side, but Democrats are not without sin either. Politicians of all stripes seem eager to define themselves by how they differ from their ideological counterparts. All too often these assertions involve the belittling of large sections of the opposing population, and beyond that, they serve to divide us as a nation. Some partisanship in politics is to be expected, but too many leaders define themselves by a harsh rejection of countering ideals. Some politicians seem to want to further the divide in an already polarized nation and for what? To pander to the fears and resentment of our nationâÄôs ignorant? Our leaders should not push fragmentation, and they should not be painting those whom they disagree with with an adversarial brush. This type of divisive speech does nothing for the shared (and I emphasize shared) goal of betterment of this country. Republican, Democrat, independent, whatever âÄî the same end is desired, only with different means of achieving it. One cannot brand their opponent anti-American simply because they have a different strategy for achieving the shared goal of a better America. If two football coaches disagree on the best strategy to win a football game, would one coach call the other anti-team? When Palin draws arbitrary lines around âÄúpro-AmericaâÄù she obviously suggests that people who live outside of these boundaries are in anti-America territory. It would seem that a certain uninhibited patriotism is required by Palin to qualify as a real American. An unquestioning love for country is the credo required in her eyes. America can do no wrong âÄî and itâÄôs blasphemous to suggest otherwise. Ignoring our flaws and highlighting our flawlessness, that is Palin-patriotism. If youâÄôre outside of this school of thought, youâÄôre living outside the boundaries of pro-America country. What good do these capricious borders do us? They only promote the stale and divisive suggestion that we are a fragmented country, divided by red states and blue states. ItâÄôs time to retire this antagonistic idea and adopt a more harmonious political tone. Do we want leaders that promote cooperation and unity or partition and political divergence? Let us not forget what we all were taught as elementary school children but soon forgot in our adolescence. We are âÄúone nation, under god, indivisibleâÄù not âÄútwo nations, divisible by party linesâÄù. This type of pro-America versus anti-America postulating deserves a sound rejection, and if the polls are any indicator, this flawed approach will get just what it deserves come Nov. 4. Ross Anderson welcomes comments at [email protected]