North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

November 15, 2012

Our Views: A hopelessly divided nation

North Jefferson News

AN NJN EDITORIAL — So the 2012 elections are over at last, and what do we have?

A populace that is as sharply divided as any time in the history of the Union, perhaps since the Civil War.

Exit polls show that “identity voting” was rampant. Various groups voted heavily one way or the other. For Barack Obama: urban voters, single women, African-Americans and Hispanics; for Mitt Romney: whites (especially males), Southerners, rural voters and evangelicals. And those sides are more entrenched than ever, and even more distrustful of the opposition.

So it is no wonder why the popular vote was decided by a bit more than 2 percent, with the so-called swing states determining the outcome, and the outcome on most of them being equally close, or even closer.

And when all is said and done, we’re right back where we were before the election. Obama is headed back to the White House, the Democrats still have the majority in the Senate, and the Republicans still control the House of Representatives.

In other words, it’s a recipe for continued gridlock in Washington, at just the time when it is least needed.

For the next couple of weeks, there will be the predictable cries for bipartisanship. But when it comes time to act, overconfident Democrats and angry Republicans will dig in their heels once again. We’ve seen it happen too many times to expect otherwise.

Frankly, it would have been better if one side or the other won outright. The nation’s economy is still hurting, and the infamous “fiscal cliff” is looming large. If one party were in control for a time, at least we might get something done. Which party would do the better job? Well, we’ll leave that opinion to you. But for now, we’ll face two or four years of the same old thing.

Perhaps someone in Washington will come forward who can actually make the opposing sides come together.

If that person appears, we might just nominate him or her for sainthood.