Are we headed for a divorce?

Can we save the United States of America instead of splitting our nation between Progressives - The United Progressive States of America and The United Conservative States of America, or is it too late? Do we care enough about our nation, our Constitution, and our ideals to try to save our Union, or do we not much give a shit as long as we each get our way?

We have the equivalent of a dysfunctional relationship, one where neither party listens to the other and instead engages in name-calling and character assassination. As mature adults committed to a higher cause than our personal politics, can we end this tit-for-tat nonsense and examine the issues logically and with an eye to a more peaceful union and perhaps save democracy's greatest experiment?

When two people in a relationship are reduced to name-calling and insults, the central issue of debate is lost as each party focuses on demeaning the other. Mediation and compromise are putting aside personal enmity and concentrating on the topic that divides us; we examine the facts, not our opinions. This is easier said than done, especially if the relationship has deteriorated the way it has between conservatives and progressives.

Let's take the issue of immigration as an example. Put aside all the petty bullshit that both sides have slung. What does immigration mean to the United States of America as a nation, not only to progressives or conservatives? What are the good and bad elements of each issue? Does going one way or another cause more harm than good to us as a nation? We must seek a solution that serves our nation, not the individual political point of view. To that end, we need to answer a few simple questions.

1. How does immigration help our country? Is the history of immigration positive or negative?

Probable answer: It has been mostly positive. Immigrants have contributed far more to the greatness of America than they have taken away. Immigrant labor in many industries keeps prices lower for the consumer.

2. Does immigration significantly increase crime in the US? Should we be afraid of immigrants?

Possible answer: "...quantitative research has consistently shown that being foreign born is negatively associated with crime overall and is not significantly associated with committing either violent or property crime. If an undocumented immigrant is arrested for a criminal offense, it tends to be a misdemeanor." Oxford: Immigration & Crime

3. Immigrants increase poverty in the US. They live in hovels and don't improve.

Possible answer: Percent of immigrants living in poverty is 14.6%. Percent of US citizens living in poverty is 11.4%. The slight difference suggests that immigrants are not the cause of poverty in the US but are victims, just like American citizens. Pew Research; Poverty USA. The slight difference is understandable, given the challenge immigrants face in lifting themselves out of poverty.

I hope you get my point. We have to look at all the issues as objectively as possible. We have to set aside our preconceptions, misconceptions, tribal ethical and religious convictions, and the rumors and horror stories we may have heard in our local bar about any contentious topics in our society. We have to end engagement in misinformation to win our argument. We need to look at every issue related to perfecting our experiment in democracy, not just to promote one political, religious, or moral point of view. 

Many of our founders were Deists. That means they believed in the existence of a personal God, but in few or none of the more special doctrines of the Christian religion; it means one who holds to some of the more general propositions of the Christian faith concerning the Deity but denies revelation and the authority of the church.

Our government was not built around political or religious points of view. Those are for individuals to decide for themselves, their families, and what they do inside their homes. They are not issues to be forced on others. The Constitution, as marvelous a document as it is, is not perfect. It was written by men born almost 300 years ago, living in a very different world than we live in today. Our job is not to literally invoke 300-year-old ideas but to improve on them in the same way we have improved in so many other areas of life in the US and worldwide.

We need to look at all the divisive issues we face today; abortion, climate change, gun control, inflation, the justice system, unity, healthcare, personal rights of choice, and education, to name a few, in the context of all we've learned over 300 years and not try to reverse that knowledge. We must look at each topic through the lens of the 21st century. We need to list the pluses (how it helps our nation) and the minuses. Like the sparring couple seeking counseling rather than divorce, we must look at the issues dispassionately, focused on what is best for the family, not what we, as angry and flawed individuals, want for ourselves.

It is not the government's role to impose morality on anyone. Instead, the government's role is to create an environment that allows as much freedom of choice as is practical within the law and in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. The goal of life means freedom from fear and oppression, both from institutions and individuals. Liberty means being allowed to make personal choices insofar as it poses no threat to society as a whole. And happiness means living a life free of fear, intimidation, and overreach by either the government or other institutions representing a minority point of view. Invariably, the focus must be on society, not a minority point of view.

Divorce is the final solution if we can't or don't want to save our great nation. Welcome to the two United States, the Progressive and Conservative. Once we settle on a dividing line for the two nations, people will be free to migrate to the country of their choice.