Human Interest


The United States of America is a divided country. Divided not by borders or state lines but by ideology and opinion. This has become more apparent in recent years to where now it is obvious an “Us vs. Them” (or is it, “We vs. They”) cultural division dominates our social discourse. There are such strong and unwavering opinions on both sides of issues that is now common to “agree to disagree.” Changing the mind of someone to get them to see it your way is virtually impossible. These differences of opinion have led to conflict among friends and angry and ugly confrontations between opponents. I’m concerned these divisions are approaching a dangerous level where hatred causes both sides to resort to violence. In some situations, it already has.

As I see it, divisions stem from disagreements about the subjects listed below. They are:





     RIGHT and WRONG



Of course, you may be able to list a few more subjects yourself, but these are the major areas of disagreement I think get the most attention and stir the most emotion. REMEMBER; DrGOpines is an opinion blog. It expresses the opinions of one man, William M. Gilkison. You may disagree with my position, as I may yours, but differences are just that, differences. We’re all entitled to our opinion in a free country, and yours and mine are of equal relevance. Anger should not accompany that opinion. 

I think the specific conflicts in these topics are well-known, but a brief overview of each is worthwhile. My position on some of them may become apparent, but I hope I upset no one. 

RELIGION: Nothing is more divisive than religion. Friends avoid discussing it, and families are split because of it. Is there a God? Is there a heaven, a Satan? Is the BIBLE the inspired word of God? Did Jesus exist, arise from the dead, and was he God’s earthy Son? Atheists are very outspoken in their hatred of religious symbols, traditions, and Christian people. Christians are regarded as dumb, gullible, bigoted, and uneducated believing in a higher power mocked as fantasy. Heated debates between religious leaders and atheists have not resolved differences. Christians are portrayed as inferior beings and atheists are the enlightened. Anger builds resulting in division.

ABORTION: The abortion debate was escalated by the recent Supreme Court reversal of Roe vs. Wade. Pro-lifers consider abortion murder—infanticide. Pro-Choice folks reject the murder concept in favor of a woman’s right to choose to be pregnant or not. A pregnancy becomes inconvenient and thus can be discarded just like spoiled meat. Which side you’re on depends on your concept of right and wrong when it comes to being pregnant. Each side thinks theirs is the right opinion. This dilemma has been irreconcilable for 50 years and will remain so forever. The division is so contentious it has devolved into firebombings, picketing homes and clinics, assassination attempts, and the murder of an abortion doctor. This division is unrepairable.

POLITICS: Political party affiliation is another major argumentative issue. Lifelong Democrats and Republicans would never consider changing party allegiance. It’s sometimes hard to understand how someone who seemingly believes the same things I do could be registered with the other party, but they are. Partisan politics has been a significant dividing factor for decades, and will remain so.

DONALD J. TRUMP: Half of the American population loves Donald Trump. The other half despises him. His appearance on the political scene stirred emotions, both positive and negative, more than any presidential candidate in history. What U.S. President in our lifetime has been smeared and hated as much by his detractors as Donald Trump? None! Trump’s emergence on the political stage unearthed a horde of hatred no other president had experienced. People hate him while others worship him. The Trump Derangement syndrome, a real entity, has afflicted millions of citizens and all but a few media outlets. Is it his political leanings, his policy decisions, his antagonism toward the media, his rude comments, or just him? Whatever it is, he is always wrong in the eyes of his many enemies. Never has a President been impeached twice, been targeted by a special prosecutor, or had his home raided by the FBI. He didn’t kill anyone, overthrow the government, or get rich by taking advantage of his government position. Never will the polar-opposite sentiment for Donald Trump be resolved. He will remain a source of division always.

RIGHT AND WRONG: The concept of right and wrong has been forced into exile. In today’s world, right is what you believe and a wrong belief is held by anyone you dislike or disagree with. You’re right and everyone else is wrong. Remember back in 1992, when Dan Quayle complained about family values and Murphy Brown’s lack thereof? He objected morally to Murphy Brown’s pregnancy out of wedlock and her denunciation of the need for a father. His comments caused a brouhaha that has lasted for 30 years. He never recovered from the ridicule he suffered for moralizing. For many, anything goes, and you’re wrong for judging. For others, their disdain for opposing lifestyles runs very deep. Agreeing on right and wrong is a divisive force today.

THE NEWS MEDIA: Division? You bet. Bias is everywhere. Hard news is never reported straight up. There’s always opinion, innuendo, words like “controversial,” or voice inflections that influence the public in the direction the writer or announcer desires. Do you ever watch a network news cast? How long is it before something is said that makes you say “What? I don’t believe that!” Or something negative is said about someone you admire. It’s usually within 1-2 minutes you know where the newsreader’s allegiance lies. Look what’s happened to newspapers. Circulation has plummeted because of the internet, but also, reporters editorialize  every story. News stories lack facts and data but are full of opinion and interpretation. There is no middle ground in news reporting and the public is fully aware of what’s happening. Print and visual media have added greatly to the divided attitudes in America. Half of America no longer trusts the media.

LAW ENFORCEMENT: It is obvious America has a two-tired justice system. Excessive scrutiny of some while the mis-deeds of others are ignored has divided the country and caused a loss of trust in some law enforcement agencies. Some who get caught in lies go to prison while others committing the same offense go free. Who you are determines your punishment. These inequities cause serious division. The very vocal minority of Americans who are anti-police and anti-law enforcement and advocate “defunding the police,” ie. cutting police budgets, are causing division with those who believe in law and order and safety of the citizenry. They have attracted a lot of sympathizers who reject authority and law and order. There also exists a silent majority who feels these attitudes are absolutely insane. They wonder when the police became the bad guys. They are baffled by no cash bail and releasing criminals the same day they’re arrested. They can’t understand why prosecutors won’t do their jobs, and why there is unequal justice determined by one’s political positions. Many have lost faith in the FBI because of their blatant pursuit of some while turning a blind eye to others based solely on their political affiliation. These completely opposite opinions have irretrievably divided the country.

These are the major contributors to social division in America. One could also include illegal immigration, legalization of marijuana, voter integrity, healthcare, Megan Rapinoe, LeBron James, Coke vs. Pepsi, and Yankees vs. Dodgers, but most of these (except Immigr.) don’t get tempers flaring (except Yankees vs. Dodgers).

I’m normally an optimist (my kids would disagree), but in these seven categories, divisions are so profound I can see no resolution or even common ground. I think the country is in deep trouble. I see no way attitudes will change either direction. Two Americas exist! Two sides exist who hate one another; or at least hate the opinion of the other. Friends and families who enjoy each other socially avoid conflict by not discussing these sensitive issues. We avoid making snide references to the subject and appreciate not being mocked ourselves. But when anger and vitriol advance to the point of shouting and threats of violence, I worry. I worry about where these disagreements are going. Will America have two governments, two presidents, and two Congresses? Will we have a country split ideologically? Will states, counties, cities, and families exist? Will we have a second civil war? Whose side will the armed forces take? It’s scary!

We must get along! We must respect one another, not mock or ridicule others because they disagree, and follow the rules we’ve respected for 250 years. We must be honest and truthful, and treat everybody fairly. We may have to cede our position a bit to agree on policy. We don’t always have to win; a tie might have to be acceptable. But we must not allow America to become a totalitarian state. Our Constitutional form of government must survive. If we don’t settle our differences, the end of America as we know it is inevitable. 

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  1. Very well stated! I wonder everyday what will become of this nation I was once so proud to defend. I fear for the future of my grandchildren, because I can see they will never get to experience some of the simple joys I got to experience. I always looked to the wisdom of those who passed before me. I don’t feel like anyone does that anymore. The technologies have supplanted the wisdom of the ages and I think people are going to have to learn some very hard lessons all over again. I hope you are well sir and I miss you.

    1. Don,
      Thanks for your comments. Hope you are well. Are you still at the VA? We miss family, too. I think the differences of opinion prevalent now are unrepairable. So many people have no interest in agreeing and getting along. I don’t know where or how it will end. Bill

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