There are those who perceive themselves as having so-called “progressive” values and tend to align themselves more often with the Democratic Party. These values include -
- Belief in the value of an inclusive society that incorporates a broad diversity of ethnicities, cultures, ideas and lifestyles. As a natural consequence, immigration of peoples of color and varying cultural, social and religious beliefs is readily tolerated
- Acceptance of the predominant role that science and technology play within the context of the modern world. It naturally follows from this viewpoint that climate change is of immediate concern and that religious belief has a more tenuous hold on everyday life
- Support for the Commons – those societal institutions that reflect the basic needs of individuals living in community that include health care, housing, a living wage, adequate nutrition, etc. This conception predisposes the belief that a major role of government should be actively supporting these institutions
- Strongly held belief in basic human, social and economic rights for all individuals regardless of gender, sexual orientation or cultural identity and the rule of law within civilized society
- Perception of the United States as being a cooperative, productive and not an “exceptional” member of the community of nations. This global outlook is not likely to support the use of violence abroad to support purely nationalistic interests.
The other predominant group includes those individuals who espouse so-called “conservative” values that also have a strong regional affiliation. These values include –
- Strongly held idea that this nation essentially belongs to what is defined as the white race. This notion represents such a considerable aspect of the underlying worldview that the immigration of peoples of color into the United States is seen as a threat to the very foundation of national identity.
- Powerful affiliation with the Christian Religion especially in regard to the support of traditional values. As a consequence of the predominant role of this religious sentiment in everyday life, issues such as a woman’s right to an abortion are seen as a significant violation and repudiation of this philosophical outlook. From this perspective, modern science and technology is held suspect and climate change is seen as being essentially incompatible with religious belief and sentiment
- Rights of the individual outweigh the rights of the larger community. From this perspective, the role of government is clearly delineated, and government action is often seen as an unwanted intrusion and repudiation of those rights
- Highly nationalist view of the position and role of the United States within the community of nations. This worldview regards the United States as being exceptional among nations and, therefore, has every right to exert whatever force is required to maintain and achieve its own national interests.
These differences, as described, are so divergent that they tend to clash and come into serious conflict with one another. This divergence explains the unavoidable reality that the national government has come to a serious and disquieting standstill. There is, however, a strong generational component to this division – the younger generations are clearly more progressive in their outlook and lifestyles. If this affiliation remains intact among the young as they mature, the future direction of the nation will necessarily become more unified with the passing of time for obvious and apparent reasons.