In his farewell speech at the end of his presidency, George Washington warned of the dangers of political polarization:
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism […] It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions […] it is a spirit not to be encouraged.
His speech is more important than ever because what he talked about happens right now in the USA. The combined efforts of government, big tech, and media to force a one-sided narrative with gaslighting, propaganda, hypocrisy, censorship, and de-platforming for the last 1-2 years, combined with authoritarian laws will divide the country faster than ever before. I give it another 5-10 years continued on this path of political division and hatred and a Civil War or Secession will be the result. Totalitarian rhetoric and the will to subjugate or destroy people of the opposite political opinion will result in bad things.
Roughly 4 in 10 (41%) of Biden and half (52%) of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that it’s time to split the country, favoring blue/red states seceding from the union.
Unfortunately, the USA is not the only country with this tendency, it happens less radically also in Germany with its West/East political split and strongly biased state media.
Colby Hall (2021): SHOCK POLL: Majority of Trump Voters Now in Favor of Seceding from the Union, https://www.mediaite.com/politics/shock-poll-majority-of-trump-voters-now-in-favor-of-seceding-from-the-union/. ↩︎
Michael Hanfeld (2020): 92 Prozent für Rot-Rot-Grün, https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/medien/ard-volontaere-wie-divers-ist-die-ausbildungs-generation-17038169.html. ↩︎