The first time I came up with the idea of building a fence to divide the country, at least on these pages, was in February of ’06. It isn’t that I relish the idea, the point is that I think it is unavoidable for many reasons. There are those of us who value opportunity over security and there are those of us who value security over opportunity; nothing wrong with an intermixed people sustaining different systems of personal priority, but it’s a problem because this affects how individuals see their life’s journeys. The opportunity people see the whole point of the exercise as one of learning and becoming more capable, so you can incrementally exchange the security you brought forward from childhood, sacrificing it for greater potential and personal growth. The security people just want to make sure everything is guaranteed, both the needs and the wants, and from what I’ve seen, aren’t too interested in doing more for themselves. In fact, they think that’s a bad thing. They’re frequently heard to say rich people should give back to the community, and so forth…
I have also noticed the opportunity-over-security people tend to think their way through problems logically — how else could it be done? — whereaas, the security-over-opportunity people would rather feel their way through problems, or around them, emotionally. I notice the security/feeler people regularly get me into trouble, because they feel like talking out these differences and they feel I’m receptive and open-minded about the issues, so they feel like a discussion would be a good idea. But then when I ask thinking, logical questions about their priorities, they feel like they’re being attacked…since they aren’t accustomed to it…and then they feel like I’m the one who cornered them, and therefore they feel like I must have started the discussion, and they feel like I’m badgering them and won’t give it up. Since I didn’t end up agreeing with them.
I also notice these thinker/opportunity-over-security types, whom I’ve called the Architects, don’t really give a rip how many other people are also Architects, or how many other people are the other kind, the Medicators….whereas, the Medicators crave much more control. They want everyone else to be a Medicator. We have become increasingly polarized since 9/11, and the Florida election debacle, in the wake of which we’ve seen nobody from either side is willing to compromise. And this is a great pity. For years, I have been re-telling a wonderful analogy somebody made, and I’ve never successfully been able to recover this column, about what would happen if we had a national radio station and, rather than twiddling with a tuning knob in our cars to select our own personal choices, we were to debate whether our monolith national station were to play soft rock, punk, rap, country, blues, classical or jazz. Can you imagine? It would be heated and rancorous, and it would be unnecessary. I have the perception we are becoming torn apart over a matter of personal taste, whose elevation to a national declaration is silly and unnecessary. Naturally, it’s just gettting more and more heated because nobody wants to let go of their personal priority system, and why the heck should they?
The logic to the “Architect” and “Medicator” names is explained here.
We need a wall. Hate to say it, but we need one, all across the country, and it has to be a high one, impassable, with checkpoints. Architects, the opportunity-seekers, do not want to share their toys — because they see life logically, and they know they’ve grown up, these are not toys anymore, they are tools and property they have acquired through wise decision-making, effort and sacrifice. Medicators don’t think anyone really grows up, therefore they want the toys to be shared. They say it’s because that’s what momma always said. But the truth is they want everything shared because they know, contributing as little as they do, they’d come out on top that way.
Now, I do not know if Burt Prelutsky reads my blog. I’ve always taken it as a given that hardly anybody does. But how else do you explain this gem, which appeared on his website sometime late last night…
It only makes sense to divide the United States along political lines. I’m not saying it would be easy, but it’s pretty obvious that the nation is growing increasingly polarized with roughly half the population favoring a huge federal government that oversees everything from smoking to nutrition, while the other half believes that the federal government has gone from being a necessary evil with the emphasis on necessary to one that is increasingly evil.
As I see it, the entire Pacific coast, along with the Northeast, favors Obama and the Democrats. Unfortunately, those two areas are separated by about 2,500 miles. Therefore, I would suggest connecting those two parts of the country with, say, a 30 mile corridor south of the Canadian border that would run through parts of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That America would include California, Washington, Oregon, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey. We conservatives would give up Hawaii in exchange for Alaska. You can see where that would make for an odd-looking country, but no odder than the congressional districts that have been gerrymandered by the Democrats here in California.
I’m not being capricious about dividing a nation that has already cost 600,000 American lives lost during the war that was waged to preserve the Union. I simply see no other way to resolve the differences when half the population regards abortion as murder and the other half feels that young girls are entitled to state-funded abortions without parental consent. The same separation exists between those who favor same-sex marriages and those who don’t; those in favor of capital punishment and those who oppose it; those who respect the Second Amendment and those who’d like to abolish it; those who favor class and race warfare and those who believe their America is above such things; those who regard compulsory union membership as a good thing and those who don’t; those who defend public schools but send their own kids to private schools and those who believe in vouchers and home-schooling; those who oppose drilling for oil and digging for coal, and those who realize that alternative sources of energy might be sufficient for a house, but not for an industrial nation; and those who think that the rights of insects trump the rights of human beings and those of us who are sane.
Prelutsky, who writes much better than I do, kicks off the story with an incident about Martha’s Vineyard — you’ve heard of it, right? — being held hostage by a mean turkey. The turkey eventually makes the mistake of attacking the police, at which time the crisis is ended with some gunfire, and the cops end up being the bad guys because hey, it’s Martha’s Vineyard.
The self-defense aspect alone demonstrates that our house united cannot stand. We think of our liberals as being opposed to war, but while the conflict endures, we see what they’re really opposed to is one side enjoying advantages of which the other side is deprived; even across a battlefield, they want things equal-equal-equal. And what better way is there to ensure a war drags on indefinitely?
Can you recall so much as a single incident in which evil was defeated by good, by way of overwhelming, decisive and disproportionate force, and subsequently you could behold that the liberal conscience was soothed? Me neither. To our lefties, that is merely the beginning of the real conflict. And here’s the dirty little secret: Their extremists “wag the dog” of the moderates; the most intractable and militant run the show. Moderate-libs do not agree with extremist-libs that (as I’ve said many a time) when the schoolyard fight is started by one kid and finished by another, the punishment should be rained down upon the stronger boy who acted in self defense and threw the last punch. Moderates side with conservatives in saying the punishment should be for the kid who threw the first one.
But the most rapid and strident libs, who hate any kind of conflict, are never too fond of whoever ends one. And so everyone on their side of the fence, a fence which exists only in thought, becomes duty-bound to jettison common-sense and side with the whack-job lefties and say: No punishment for the kid who threw the first punch, the punishment is for whoever threw the last one. Because there is something nefarious and untrustworthy about possessing strength, even if it is used to end conflict and begin a new period of peace.
No, these two sides cannot be emulsified. Not in their current form.
But I do have a feeling that if the fence were to exist in practice, and the Medicators could go live on the other side and see how well their military-free police-free gun-free share-the-toys opportunity-free society works for a year or two, they might end up looking at life differently. Without the fence, their ideas look appealing because, although few will deign to acknowledge it, their ideas create conflict where conflict did not exist before. It is the conflict that makes it appear promising. The tragedy of these wise liberals being intermixed with these dullard conservatives who are stockpiling money and destroying the environment…that is what makes the liberals look wise. With the separation in place and the conflict removed, there would be a new perspective in place. I think it would be a highly educational one. For everybody.