In a blog post I recently read the author made the claim that, “Division these days is not over race or religion, but over political identification.” To support his contention he cited a recent Pew poll, which showed that on on the question of which issues should be considered “top priorities” there are huge gaps between those who call themselves Democrats and those who call themselves Republicans. At the top of the list was protection of the environment. 65% of Democrats consider it a top priority but only 28% of Republicans do–a gap of 37%.
Protection of the environment wasn’t the only issue on which there is such disagreement. The poll revealed these gaps:
- Protecting the environment: 37% difference
- Helping the poor: 32% difference
- Reducing the budget deficit: 31% difference
- Addressing global warming: 28% difference
- Strengthening the military: 25% difference
- Improving education: 25% difference
I wonder how much of this is driven by the constant barrage of partisan spin that comes with 24-7 news channels, talk radio, social media and blogging.
But I also wonder if the “division” might not be as deep as it seems. My guess is that most Americans aren’t locked into loyalty to a political party and maybe this poll only represents the opinions of those who are. My guess is that that most Americans favor both protecting the environment and reducing the budget deficit, for example.
When I first began blogging I often posted about political issues. Eventually I stopped doing that. There are plenty of places to go on the internet for political arguments or to have one’s biases reinforced. So I try to steer clear of the hot buttons, unless directly related to agriculture. Admittedly I sometimes backslide. If I ever step on any political toes, it isn’t my intent. The last thing we need is more of that.