Elliot Schneiderman: Path to unity in America
In response to George Rebane’s column published April 3, “Farewell to unity in America”: I agree that an examination of the kind of world we want to achieve in common is a good starting point for addressing the polarization that appears to pervade American politics. But I disagree with his conclusion.
Far from “farewell to unity,” George Rebane actually reveals a path to unity in America! How so?
I am a “neighbor of the left” Democrat. In reading the first half of George’s op-ed, I assumed he was, too, because for the most part I share his stated world view. I believe that most left-leaning Americans do, as well, just as George believes that most right-leaning Americans do.
George’s ideal world order is “made up of liberal sovereign nation-states living and trading in peace, working together on big projects such as reaching for the stars, while learning best practices of governance from each other.”
From the left side of the aisle I would have to say absolutely. Are there any left-leaning members of The Union readership out there who would disagree with this?
George “wants America to remain the shining light on the hill with an inviting culture that honors our best traditions” (yes, immigration reform); “rewards meritocracy” (government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability — who wouldn’t agree with that?); “promotes the individual” (isn’t individualism a pretty much universally held ideal in America?); “prudently regulated capitalism” (yes, careful, cautious regulation, made with good judgment and wisdom in looking ahead, of trade and industry controlled by for-profit private owners, but universal health care is not incompatible with capitalism!); “and opportunity for all its citizens under a constitutionally minimalist government” (yes, opportunity for all includes fair treatment and respect for all including minority and LGBTQ citizens, and yes to judicial minimalism).
George goes on to describe a diametrically opposed world order in which humanity is “joined under a strong and over-arching global government.” Nation states are socialist republics (Wikipedia lists current socialist republics as China, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos). “Individualism is curbed in favor of cooperative class membership,” and Marxist collectivism is the guiding principle.
George quite wrongly states that “our neighbors on the left work feverishly for” this Marxist global government world view. I’m on our country’s left and will have none of it, I don’t personally know a single American that would ascribe to it, and I am convinced that the vast majority of our country’s left do not ascribe to it.
Marxism is an extreme view held by the fringe far left, just as anarchism is an extreme view held by the fringe far right. The majority of Americans on both sides are not extremists and shouldn’t be stereotypically categorized as such.
I would venture that if you randomly choose 100 Nevada County left-leaning Democrats from the Nevada County Democratic Party, not one in 100 would ascribe to the Marxist global government world view.
George believes that his stated world view is “shared by at least half of Americans, those who gather on our country’s right.” I believe that the general contours of this world view are also shared by a majority of the left.
So, if George is right about the right, we may already be standing on the path to unity in America.
Elliot Schneiderman is a retired scientist in Grass Valley.
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