posted on Nov, 6 2004 @ 11:55 AM
To be fair to Bush, the great cultural divide between the religious and the non-religious, the conservatives and the liberals, existed in America
before him. Even the political divide existed before him - but instead of shrinking under Bush, it widened.
What I think is dangerous is that a lot of people are taking Bush's black-and-white attitude at face value. The dichotomy between "us" being right
and "them" being wrong is growing, and that doesn't make for productive political dialogue. Liberals are infuriating conservatives by their talk of
leaving the US, while conservatives are infuriating liberals by their talk of being the true representatives of American values. It's a
Internationally, Bush's "go it alone" attitude has troubled a lot of people. While these countries understand the United States' need to defend
itself - that's why you had a lot of support for the operation in Afghanistan - they can't subscribe to the "If you're not with us, you're with
the terrorists" doctrine, since that's tantamount to asking other countries to follow the U.S. wherever it goes - as shown when France and Germany
supported the war in Afghanistan (France sent troops), but opposed the war in Iraq. The expectation that other countries will follow the U.S. in any
war, plus the economic and moral retaliation against those that didn't, have embittered a lot of people in Europe to the U.S. In turn, a lot of
Americans respond to that bitterness by their own bitterness, saying "who cares what the rest of the world thinks".
So the discourse of the Bush administration has caused the deepening of a double polarization: one at the national level, the other one at the
international level. If Bush wants to succeed in his second term and be well-remembered, he has to heal that divide and re-establish dialogue, not
only with the liberal half of the country, but with other countries as well.