We are living in hyper-partisan, politically polarized times, which is precisely why crossing party lines is more crucial than ever. Most of us, regardless of our political views, will probably find at least a few things to agree about even with people who hold mostly opposing views. As the presidential campaigns go into warp speed, the tension levels and animosity no doubt will increase by orders of magnitude. Finding common ground and areas of agreement can defuse this, something that certainly seems needed because, as you might have noticed, it is a pressure-cooker out there.
Texas Judge claims Obama re-election will incite 'civil war'
Are you ready for civil war? Tom Head, a judge in Lubbock County, Texas, says that is what Americans should expect if President Barack Obama is reelected.
Judge Head is afraid Obama will surrender sovereignty of the US to the United Nations so he wants his county to be prepared should UN troops invade West Texas. Perhaps the judge was being deliberately outrageous. Conversely, the judge may genuinely believe what he says, but incendiary comments sometimes do cause unintended conflagrations.
Akin received scathing criticism from across the political spectrum for his "legitimate rape" comments. Now he, his family, and staff are also receiving rape and death threats, something confirmed by police.
"The office of Congressman Akin has received threats of rape of his official staff, family and the Congressman himself along with suggestions that individuals should die," according to a statement from Steve Taylor, a spokesman for Akin.
Thus, threats come from those presumably so appalled by rape that they threaten to rape someone who said something about rape they disagree with. The shootings and killings today at the Empire State Building over an apparent work dispute show how demonizing others can lead to tragic, violent conclusions, and not just in politics.
In our polarized culture, controversial comments can become firestorms, as the response to Akin's comments demonstrates. Special interest and advocacy groups jump in, too often using what happened to advanced their own agendas, attack groups on opposing sides, and send out fund-raising pleas. However, such tactics do not lead to working together to solve the very real problems facing this country. We need to join together to solve our problems. This worked for the IRA and Great Britain. It can work for us too.