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Old Nov 3, 2012, 12:13 PM   #1
citizenzen
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How Close are We to Violence?

And I don't mean the regular violence we already suffer from in the U.S. I mean violence spawned from the political schism that only seems to be widening in this country.

Is this just a phase the nation is going through? Will we be able to heal the schism (or endure it) without resorting to violent social unrest? What can be done—if anything—to reduce the political tensions?
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 12:41 PM   #2
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And I don't mean the regular violence we already suffer from in the U.S. I mean violence spawned from the political schism that only seems to be widening in this country.

Is this just a phase the nation is going through? Will we be able to heal the schism (or endure it) without resorting to violent social unrest? What can be done—if anything—to reduce the political tensions?
I personally don't believe we are close to violence. As for your other question - what can be done to reduce tensions - perhaps we should be more flippant about violence and politics and race and such. Flippant and funny like Bill Maher:

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If you’re thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea: black people know who you are and they will come after you.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 12:42 PM   #3
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Flippant and funny like Bill Maher:
Stupid thing to say.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 01:22 PM   #4
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Stupid thing to say.
Very witty, though. Maher, I mean. The rhetoric is certainly warlike enough.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:14 PM   #5
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If you’re thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea: black people know who you are and they will come after you.
I get the joke and I'm not offended by it. It's playing off some of the right wing's fear of changing demographics. They are afraid because in a few years White people will be the minority. They're afraid they will be discriminated against how minorities are treated now.

It's where all of the "real Americans and take our country back" rhetoric comes from. Whenever I hear that I ask take the country back from who? And they just kinda blink and stare knowing they can't answer honestly or be known as racist.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:34 PM   #6
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I would say that it has the potential to blow up badly, and badly being in the Lincoln/Kennedy sense (read: assassination attempts). I hope for everyone's sake that I am completely wrong.

Either way, I'm glad this has come up, because this week's episode of This American Life touches on this subject, and how close we are to things getting out of hand with such polarization. It's definitely worth a listen to and hopefully gets all of us here to stop and think about things and how crazy we are becoming. This isn't pretty, and to be honest, puts on a bad face of how we live in the US. From someone on the outside looking in, we look like pansies that can't get along unless some major catastrophe occurs. That would make others not really want to come here, even to visit.

Seriously, we need to stop, and take a look at ourselves in the mirror.

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Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:47 PM   #7
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My worry is not so much political polarization, but economic inequality and inequality of opportunity. I just don't see the current situation being sustainable and I wonder how the system will come back into balance. Let us hope it will be through sensible investment in the health and education of people rather than violence.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:54 PM   #8
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My worry is not so much political polarization, but economic inequality and inequality of opportunity. I just don't see the current situation being sustainable and I wonder how the system will come back into balance. Let us hope it will be through sensible investment in the health and education of people rather than violence.
It will come back in balance whenever the stubborn tea party/republican just say no crowd decide to become citizens of the united states and become reasonable,caring people again.

If that doesn't happen we will be in for a long,bad ride.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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Yes, if Obama loses.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 04:01 PM   #10
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I think it is just a phase. People tend to forget that there has been polarization before (and no, I am not talking about the civil war). As ugly as this campaign has been, there have been worse examples long before any of us were around. But we moved past that. We will someday move past this time period too.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 04:15 PM   #11
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American politics is a game. Watch how the reporters on election night report the score and how, as the results are coming in from the western suburbs, so-n-so is making gains, etc, etc. The loser makes a concession speech, people grumble, sola resurgit vita. Americans are not like Liverpool FC fans after a loss to Arsenal, the clock runs out, we go home, elated or downcast.

The real metric is probably the classic axiom, we are about three meals away from violent revolution. Or maybe $7/gal gas.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 04:18 PM   #12
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American politics is a game. Watch how the reporters on election night report the score and how, as the results are coming in from the western suburbs, so-n-so is making gains, etc, etc. The loser makes a concession speech, people grumble, sola resurgit vita. Americans are not like Liverpool FC fans after a loss to Arsenal, the clock runs out, we go home, elated or downcast.

The real metric is probably the classic axiom, we are about three meals away from violent revolution. Or maybe $7/gal gas.
I was going to say two paychecks but yours sounds more accurate.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 04:31 PM   #13
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But we moved past that. We will someday move past this time period too.
I certainly hope so.

Perhaps the end of the election alone will be a reason to dial back the rhetoric and start seeking some reconciliation. But I really don't expect for that to be the case.

If Romney loses, I highly doubt the right wing will see it as a sign that they should move back towards the center, and instead see it as confirmation that they didn't nominate a "true" conservative. The only thing that might change their strategy is a loss of the house majority in the 2014 mid-term elections. That might compel them to rethink things.

Until then I expect a full-scale onslaught from both politicians and media, which will only serve to increase discontent and suspicion amongst the masses.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 05:07 PM   #14
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Let's hope there will be no politically based violence but I believe the American political system needs to break down and fall apart and be rebuilt on new values and needs of the people who live in 2012 and not in 1776, 1885 or 1955.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 10:01 PM   #15
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If Romney loses, I highly doubt the right wing will see it as a sign that they should move back towards the center, and instead see it as confirmation that they didn't nominate a "true" conservative.
Then they will lose the next election too. And keep losing them until they get it through their heads that extremism does not work. That in order to win an election you have to be moderate. You have to reach out to different demographics, not reject them and push them away. You would think they would have learned that by now, but apparently not.
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Old Nov 3, 2012, 11:59 PM   #16
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I say we revert to the popular vote, eliminate 'running mates', and the top two votes get pres/vice pres...then maybe that will force them all to work together and get along. I imagine if we had an Obama/Romney leadership that they would eventually have to settle the differences and work together through a practical but useful compromise. At least interparty turmoil has always worked in this fashion.

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Then they will lose the next election too.
People aren't exactly happy with democratic leadership either, FYI...

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The Democratic Party suffered massive defeats in many national and state level elections, with many seats switching to Republican Party control. The Republican Party gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, recapturing the majority, and making it the largest seat change since 1948 and the largest for any midterm election since the 1938 midterm elections. The Republicans gained six seats in the U.S. Senate, expanding its minority, and also gained 680 seats in state legislative races,[3][4][5] to break the previous majority record of 628 set by Democrats in the post-Watergate elections of 1974.[5] This left Republicans in control of 25 state legislatures, compared to the 15 still controlled by Democrats. After the election, Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...lections,_2010
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 12:55 AM   #17
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If we see even one political ad after this Tuesday, I'm pretty sure there'll be lots of violence.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 03:48 AM   #18
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Given Gandhi didn't use violence 75 years ago, it seems fairly unlikely that the US will use it now.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 06:26 AM   #19
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Very witty, though. Maher, I mean. The rhetoric is certainly warlike enough.
There is nothing witty about Maher's hate-speak.

Nothing.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 07:21 AM   #20
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There is nothing witty about Maher's hate-speak.

Nothing.
I agree that it was unacceptable.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 02:53 PM   #21
MadeTheSwitch
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People aren't exactly happy with democratic leadership either, FYI...
I was referring to Presidential elections. House and Senate are a whole different animal.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 03:02 PM   #22
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I think one of the big issues facing us is media activism. I feel like our media has lost objectivity because every major news entity has picked a side and they predominantly report (political) news favorable to that side. I don't think this trend contributes to political reconciliation; just the opposite.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 03:06 PM   #23
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There is nothing witty about Maher's hate-speak.

Nothing.
Where's the hate?
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 03:39 PM   #24
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I was referring to Presidential elections. House and Senate are a whole different animal.
I think both convey the dissatisfaction Americans have with their government. Sometimes I think we should fire every elected official and start from scratch and eliminate the things that make elections unfair.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 09:10 PM   #25
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I think both convey the dissatisfaction Americans have with their government. Sometimes I think we should fire every elected official and start from scratch and eliminate the things that make elections unfair.
I'd be okay with that if it didn't throw our whole country into chaos. For the same reason that replacing every single person in the company you work for would lead to absolute chaos and a lack of experience causing the company to go into a tailspin crisis, the same could be said on a governmental level as well. Only worse, since that involves more then widgets and invoices. It involves military and nukes.
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