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August 18, 2022

Letter: Why the USA is so divided

I was intrigued by a story I came across regarding a recent poll from UGov, and nearly 40% of all Americans are in favor of seceding from the union. What was even more interesting is that it was pretty even along party lines. 

Southern Republicans, and Democrats in the Pacific Northwest had the highest desire to secede. At a local level there is nothing but “mud” slung between our political leaders, and it seems that everything has been politicized. No one is willing to be tolerant (I think it is because we have been forced to “accept”), and many people already believe that a “cold” or “social” civil war is already going on. 

On May 18, five rural counties in Oregon voted to leave Oregon and join Idaho. There is a bill in the Texas legislature to secede from the United States. There is also a large area of land in Northeastern California who have long held that they are not part of the state. They call themselves the state of Jefferson. Even in Hollister, and San Benito County there are deep divides between people. 

There have always been political differences between people, but why are they so exaggerated now? I have a theory. In the past we argued about what part of a budget should go to certain programs, maybe how much support we should give someone, argued about local ordinances, etc. But now it seems that all the things that can be compromised on have been, and that there are some core issues that can’t be compromised on. 

I think there are 5 main ones: First, Abortion; second, religious freedom; third, legalizing drugs; fourth, gay marriage; fifth, and maybe most divisive right now are lockdowns, masks and mandatory vaccinations versus personal freedom and individual responsibility during the pandemic. 

Regardless of which side of these issues you are on, you can’t compromise because of your beliefs. What I mean is you either believe that abortion is OK or you don’t. You believe in lockdowns, masks and mandatory vaccinations or you don’t. You believe in God or you don’t. These are binary choices, and whichever side of the issue you are on you can’t support the other side without compromising your principles. 

I think this is why so many Americans want to secede. I personally believe the only way we can avoid a second civil war is to allow states to set their own standards on these issues. For example, if I as a conservative choose to live in California I understand the risk, and what I am getting myself into, or if I as a liberal chose to stay in Idaho, I know the consequences. 

The issue with the extra flag pole at city hall is a great local example. The rainbow flag was flown for a month, now a group wants to fly the Christian flag. As I mentioned in a previous letter once we went down that road every “special” group should now be allowed to fly their flag. Fill out the paperwork, pay the fee and your flag goes up, or we could do the right thing and fly first and highest the American flag, and then the state flag. 

This is why both sides fight tooth and nail for every office and elected seat. Winning means defeating your opponent, and your party getting to make the rules. I truly pray that we can go back to tolerance, because acceptance ain’t cutting it. 

Randy Logue


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