If we are to believe the media, this country is utterly polarized between conservatives and liberals. If the “red state/blue state” divide were more profound and geographically coalesced, it would be very easy to think of the United States as splitting into two countries. “Blue liberals” form a kind of archipelago scattered along the various coasts (east, west, and Great Lakes) and wouldn’t make geographic sense as a separate country.
I have been wondering lately how much of this is due to abortion. Has the abortion issue — liberals wanting to keep it legal, conservatives fighting it tooth and toenail — been a driving factor in creating two warring camps, camps that more or less split along Democratic-Republican lines? It is true that there are pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans, but the overall split should be obvious.
Let’s suppose for a moment that abortion were not part of the equation. Either people as a whole just accepted abortion rights as part of the social framework (as is the case in most Western democracies), or people in general became convinced that abortion is immoral and moved to outlaw it.
What then? What would remain to divide us? Some people favor more government social welfare programs (Medicare for all, free higher education, and so on), some people favor doing more in the private sector. But would it be enough to go to the cross for? Americans are fundamentally decent people who want to see our weakest, poorest, and least able citizens taken care of, but they also want to know that if they work hard, perhaps even take risks, they will be rewarded for their efforts. People of good will can disagree, have disagreed, and will continue to disagree, on the role of government in the lives of citizens. There is nothing wrong with that.
Is abortion the root cause of all the division we see around us? I have to wonder sometimes.
(Full disclosure: I am a de facto single-issue voter due to the need to get enough Supreme Court justices to have at least some chance of overturning Roe v Wade and implementing other restrictions, as well as to ensure this throughout the judicial branch. I’d much rather not have to be a single-issue voter, but for the duration, duty calls.)