You read the title right. This Tuesday the world ends. So say about two thirds of my Facebook friends. One third of my friends believe that the world will end if President Obama is re-elected. They think that we are on our way to socialism. The government will tax all rich people into poverty. The government will send agents into our churches to take away our religious freedom. The borders of our country will swing wide open and immigration will explode into the country unabated. Crazy environmentalists will create so many regulations that it will be impossible to run a business in the United States. Our military will be reduced so much that we will be unable to defend ourselves from Canada, much less against Islamic terrorists.
The good part is that I am exaggerating. The bad part is that I am not exaggerating by that much. If you listen to those on the left and the right you would start to believe that if their guy does not win then the world really will end. This is the natural result of what happens when we develop a dichotomous attitude within our political system. It is not only that we have to think of our side as angelic. We also have to think of the other side as demonic. The ends justify the means. It really does not matter if people vote for our party because they buy into our vision or because they are scared to death of the other party. Therefore, sowing fear is justified by the far right and the far left.
Much of my earlier research has been on the racial divide in our society. That divide is real and it still exists. See my colleague’s post of a couple of days ago to see even more evidence of this divide. But as I studied cultural progressives and became more acquainted with the literature on the culture war, I have come to realize that there is a political divide deeper than the current cultural divide in our society. Understanding the origin of that divide is beyond my knowledge right now, but the depth of that divide is so much that it threatens to poison our society with the hatred and vitriol that comes out of this level of hostility.
Now before someone complains that my third, third, third evaluation is not a scientific assessment of the entire society, let me be the first to agree with you. I do not know what percentage of society is far left and believe that there is nothing good about Republicans and what percentage of society is far right and believe that there is nothing good about Democrats. I especially do not know the percentage of people who are tired of all of this political hatred and want to see a country that works things out instead of making inane accusations. But there is enough in each group to have a non-trivial presence in our society. This is the dynamic we have to work with as we move forward after this Tuesday – once we see that the world has not ended.