The election is over, and it is time to bring the country together. But is that possible? Every four years we see a map of red and blue states showing the vote for president. But there is growing evidence that we aren’t just a divided country. We are essentially two countries within the same border.
Bill Bishop made this case many years ago in his book, The Big Sort. Americans have sorted themselves into various enclaves that are often so separate from each other they might as well be different countries. Consider the fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans.
“Democrats want to live by their own rules. They hang out with friends at parks or other public places. They think that religion and politics shouldn’t mix. Democrats watch Sunday morning news shows and late-night television. Republicans go to church. They spend more time with family, get their news from Fox News or the radio, and own guns. Republicans read sports and home magazines, attend Bible study, frequently visit relatives, and talk about politics with people at church.” They even differ on their preference of pets. Democrats are more likely to own cats. Republicans are more likely to own dogs.
Michael Barone commented in one of his columns that most Americans choose to live in a place that is culturally congenial. “Most people in the San Francisco Bay area wouldn’t consider living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, even for much better money. Most Metroplexers would never relocate to the Bay Area.” I have lived in both places and can validate Michael Barone’s conclusion.
Yes, we are a divided country. But we are more than that. We are essentially two countries within the same border hardly on speaking terms with each other. This is the challenge for any politician in America. Trying to bring people together is difficult when we are essentially two countries within the U.S. border.