Last updated on March 9, 2019
By Yvonne Nachtigal
Love him or hate him, President Donald Trump intends to build a wall dividing the U.S. from Mexico. He feels so strongly about it that he has shut down the government until it is approved. But if anything is getting divided, it seems to be the United States of America.
It’s been said that Americans have not been this divided since the civil war and the mainstream media (MSM) seems to be complicit in that division. CNN has harshly criticized the president since his bid for the presidency, while Fox News heralds him as a savior of sorts. Both sides churn out narratives representing polarized extremes. This is interesting because both stations are owned by the same six corporations.
Looking at those supporting Trump’s proposed wall, we find people who believe we can “make America great again” (MAGA). This represents the conservative desire to return to the “status quo,” a time when America had things “right” (pardon the pun.) The assumption, of course, is that America was “great” to begin with. An assumption that some would contend.
Conservatives support things that many would agree with, like property rights, and a social hierarchy where work efforts are rewarded with the freedom to better our lives. Regardless of political views, the average college student will tell you their college ambition is to better their lives, secure themselves financially and work in a field that they find rewarding.
Democrats, or the “left,” also have ideas that many of us would agree with, like the importance of human rights and championing causes of the less fortunate. The “left” condemns “ugly capitalism” and corporate money trampling the rights of the individual. The conservative right accuses the liberal left of advocating a soft communism.
My family came from communism only a generation ago. People from a communist country will tell you that under communism the opportunity to get a free education exists for those deemed worthy of one, but the ability to better yourself does not. A doctor makes the same wage as someone slinging burgers, often resulting in a lack of motivation for young people to even go to school.
Basic differences and strong opinions aside, when it really comes down, we’re not so different from each another. We are Americans. And most of us are well-intentioned, decent people. How many of us have met someone new and thought we saw things eye to eye, then find out we held different political views and felt a chill in the conversation?
The deliberate pitting of one side against another to create a controlled conflict and predetermined political outcome is known as “Hegel’s Dialectic,” or the “Hegelian Dialectic.” German philosopher Georg Hegel, a Marxist, said that history evolves in dialectical ways, with phases of “thesis, antithesis and synthesis,” or “problem, reaction, solution.” It’s interesting, if not enlightening, to study how this has been played out in history.
Today it’s easier than ever to engineer public opinion. The new buzz word, “Fake News” could fill the editorials for the entire semester. Different opinions on this exist, but Fake News stories are false, fabricated, and/or lack verifiable facts, sources or quotes. The MSM dismisses citizen/internet news sources as fake, and both sides have accused each other spouting fake news. In truth, all these sources have produced Fake News and today’s investigative journalists are fighting economic obstacles and censorship by corporate and political interest money.
With all that and social media constantly demanding our attention, most people end up picking a side or ignoring politics altogether, hoping someone else will deal with it. Even if we are concerned, who has the time to critically sort it all out?
Getting back to how all this relates to Trump’s “Wall.” In my opinion, the proposed wall isn’t about keeping people out or in. It is, in combination with the media and internet, dividing Americans. This leaves me to wonder what the proposed “solution” is going to be as things escalate even further. We may soon find out if the shutdown extends into tax return time.