Although America is certainly a divided nation, the divisions between the various tribes are not as great as you might be led to believe. Yes, the social and political debates are loud and intense, but the fringe, rather than the mainstream, gets most of the attention.
A study done by the group “More in Common” discovered “The Hidden Tribes of America.” The researchers discovered that a small group (8%) in the liberal wing and a smaller group (6%) in the conservative wing are the ones who consistently shout, post, and vote while the rest of America is often exhausted by all of the rhetoric.
Here is an interesting contrast. On the one hand, these two groups hate each other and disagree with each other on just about every topic. On the other hand, they are very much alike. Both groups are mostly white, educated, and politically active. They always vote and give time and money to political campaigns.
But here is the relevant fact: the two groups combined only constitute 14% of the American population. In other words, the 86% of most of us watch and listen to these two groups argue and criticize each other while ignoring the many points in common we might have.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to you if you have been listening to my commentaries for any length of time. In the past, I have talked about various points of agreement. For example, Dirk Philipsen made the argument many years ago that you could fill a room with Tea Party members, Occupy Wall Street activists, and concerned Americans and find agreement. He says you would find people concerned about concentrated power, out-of-control change, and concerns about a government that no longer represents the people.
After this divisive election season, we need to find a way to bring the American people together. But we won’t bring people together if we let the two fringe wings of the political spectrum dominate all our discussions.