We are losing America. Not to external threats but from something far more lethal. I fear we are infected by a sinister virus called "identity politics," radically embraced moral imperatives that drive the actions of small groups. Their every effort and resource go into their one cause, inconsistent with the overall greater good.
Thousands of these small fractured groups occupy enormous attention in America, as media coverage is obsessive and unrelenting. Identity politics "cells" do not put any focus or value on our nation's greater good and are overrunning us while our common sense majority is paralyzed to inaction.
We wake nearly every day to a newly emerging cause célèbre all of which are life and death crusades to very few, but are infinitely lower in the pecking order in the lives of most others.
The vast majority of our citizens, the middle 80 percent who are not politicians, celebrities, media, Democrat or Republican Party officials, zealots or others bound to one cause, are everyday people who are able and amazingly willing to work for finding broadly acceptable and beneficial compromise and common achievements for those things that are important to us all.
Our Founders left us road maps to follow to keep our Republic alive and thriving. Unfortunately, new norms are inconsistent with Founders' intent. There lurk societal problems tipping us to a default of our conscience as a nation.
America has a history of talking a good game when it comes to democracy bringing people together, but the truth is that from the outset, two-party governance and the machinery that drives it has fractured our population. Look at today and how we deride our government and politicians, holding them in such low esteem. The mafia have higher approval numbers.
Founder and President James Madison, is author of several of the inspired and visionary Federalist Papers. In Federalist Paper 10, Madison warns us of, "emergence of factions being a minority number of citizens, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests and benefit of the community."
Madison warned us of "identity politics." He also warned us that mega financed and engendered political parties will never provide for the majorities' common good.
Today, the 20 percent has silenced the 80 percent partly through the oppression of our two-party system, delivering inconsistent wildly polar policies from administration to administration, from city halls to the halls of congress. The 20 percent also influence the media and the content and manner and amount of what we hear and see.
Those factions that James Madison foresaw are subjugating the owner's manual for America, our Constitution and amendments.
It is all there, the full circle of how America thrives survives and defends her founding principals. Apply Madison's words to our community, state and nation relating to the most divisive issues of the day. What do you see?
"Identity politics" is destroying the nobility of our founding, bit by bit and are able to do so from a faction group only because of what things they control, and the menace of elitism.
The 80 percent gags on minority faction's tripe, gasping for breath and reaching the fertile conclusion that there is something terribly wrong, yet impotently watching disaster take hold.
The 80 percent can only take back America through its ability to cultivate common ground, through civil discourse unfettered by party labels, active involvement and common sense action amongst themselves, yet fight with the power of factual argument when factions appear and the larger common good is threatened. Right now, the common good is losing. Are you willing to become involved, without labels to fight for the greater good in 2018?
J.W. Sayles is a retired university professor and U.S. Treasury agent and also a veteran of the Vietnam War. He lives in Mason City.