At the heart of the problem dividing the United States is down to the definition of terms. As Lenin once said ‘if you can define the terms you are 9/10ths of the way towards winning the argument. I have thought of myself as a “conservative”. When I lived in England I was often accused of having “extreme right wing views”. Those views were a belief in “free enterprise”.
Channel 4 TV even did a documentary on me and my views where I said just that. Meanwhile as a journalist of the music paper Melody Maker once explained to me – you believe in free enterprise and Capitalism so that makes you a Nazi. We know that Nazis hate Jews so that makes you anti sematic. In England in the1970s-80s they too got their definitions mixed up. Actually that journalist could not define either Socialism or Capitalism, she just knew one was bad and the other good – or that was what she thought she was supposed to believe. It took a strong willed Prime Minister like Margaret Thatcher to change that and reclaim the language.
Being a conservative normally means small government, lower taxes, strong defense, etc. It has come to include anti-abortion, Climate Change denial, anti gun control and various religions beliefs- and more recently pro Trump and such things as not wearing a mask to counter Covid 19. These new elements are not right-left issues. In the process the word “Conservative” has been changed. At the same time the word “liberal” changed as well. In the USA many now see the word “liberal” as something bad. Strange indeed for a country that calls its political system a “liberal democracy”. We also now see the reverse of what I experienced in England; Socialism was now bad and Capitalism good. As it is now defined I am now not a conservative.
So when we hear various media outlets talking about Socialism or Conservativism, radical socialist views, conservative views depending on ones position on the political spectrum those words have completely different meanings. So of course we are a divided nation. We speak different languages thinking we are talking the same one.
For instance, the latest banning of tweets was NOT against “conservative views” – they were against views that could lead or encourage those that might resort to violence. Whatever one’s view of Trump, one can not deny that his denial of the election results and pushing dangerous untrue lies about that election led to the Capital invasion of January 6. The shock of what he encouraged – or more bluntly – incited, caused many to rethink and see what they had chosen not to see. Unfortunately some media still have chosen not to see and still see the world in a different language. They choose to believe (or say they believe even when they know its not true) “alternative facts”. Until we speak the same language – believe and SPEAK the same facts – we will remain divided.