The government shutdown continues. The nation is definitely in crisis: it is at war with itself. It is suffering from a kind of national schizophrenia. I've given considerable thought as to why this is happening. It seems to have been triggered by the election of the nation’s first black President – Barrack Obama. I initially came to the conclusion that this was the underlying problem - that it is a race issue.
On further reflection, however, I believe it is not simply due to race but to what his philosophical worldview represents that has provided the catalyst to catapult the nation into its current state of unrest.
Obama represents a thoroughly pluralistic view of government and the underlying social order. Fundamental to this viewpoint is its all-inclusiveness. This worldview is evident in the policies he has attempted to put forward – his stand on liberalizing immigration law, his strategy to expand health coverage to the tens of millions who have none and his advocacy of women’s and minority rights. His personal upbringing and development reflects this acceptance of diversity within the human community.
In addition, Obama represents that inner set of values that embrace the science and technology that are the hallmarks of the twenty-first century. This mindset is characterized by an acceptance of the intrinsic value of the pursuit of knowledge and a determination to act upon those discoveries that have relevance to humanity – a belief in the validity of climate change being the most salient example.
In response to this apparent ascendance of the modern age, there has been a significant and unsettling push back by that sizable segment of the American populace that is frightened of the changes that this worldview necessarily endorses.
As a result, the nation seems hopelessly split into two factions whose values are in opposition. This has become a crisis from which there is no apparent remedy. This clash between two extremely divergent forces has finally led to a dangerous paralysis that has the prospect of resulting in an essential crippling of the ability of the nation to address the problems that requires its attention.
In addition, there exists a far great danger that if the leadership representing both sides of this divide remain unable to find common ground and legitimate routes to meaningful compromise, this impasse could eventually lead to civil strife especially in a culture that embraces the universality of the possession and use of firearms. This is not a future we should willingly embrace.