The Age of Divisiveness

Anyone who disagrees with President Obama has been labeled a “racist”. Those who attend tea parties have been labeled “Nazi”. If you don’t like what this administration has done, and speak out against it, according to the Speaker of the House, you are “unamerican”.

Taxes must be raised on the “rich” as, according to our President, they are the “greedy” ones who sit back and reap their rewards off the backs of the “poor”.  Let’s forget for the moment that the “poor” wouldn’t have a job, but for the “rich”.

We have an Imam who wants to build a Mosque near the site of Ground Zero.

And now, we have a “pastor” in Florida who wants to burn a copy of the Koran in a ceremony on Saturday, September 11.

All of the above labels and actions fit nicely within our concepts of freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.  But, are they right? 

To me, they are not. 

All they do is divide us into small fractionalized groups.  And, the more fractionalized we become the more we forget how we began…

We the people of the United States…”

Posted in


The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. chris-os on September 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    SOS, sorry, i have been thinking the same for quite a bit now-devisiveness is ruining our country.

    guess I view it all from a different perspective. The repubs have sunk to a new low. clearly they do not want anything constructive from happening -they are hellbent on making sure nothing gets fixed on Obama's watch-you and I be damned!

    helping the suffering citizens of our country takes a back seat to politics as usual-I truly think the voters are not stupid, they see what is happening and are disgusted..


  2. Odonna on September 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Mmmm, is this a case of Projection–?  I remember when the "Repubs" were in control of Congress (barely) and actually tried to reform healthcare, Social Security, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the "Dems" kept blocking all of the attempts to do something constructive. 

    I think the Republicans would love to do something genuinely constructive for the country, but when the so-called reforms are bogus, shameless power-grabs, I want them to oppose their little hearts out!  But the truth is, the Repubs haven't the votes to block much at this point, unless there are Dems, themselves, who are cutting and running from the foolish policies.  

    The voters are not stupid, we do see  what is happening, and we are disgusted (with the party in power–the Dems). 

  3. Dimsdale on September 7, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Yes, chris, the voters are disgusted.  And that is why the Democrats are fighting for their political lives.  The entire post by SOS catalogs the use of race, religion, Nazism and class warfare by the Democrats in lieu of defending their actions/legislation.


    Øbama had the world on a platter when he was elected, and threw it all away to be a typical Chicago liberal.  He could have stood above any fray, taken the high road, and steered the country towards unity and harmony, but chose not to.  The fabrication of racist attacks for no other reason than someone might dare to disagree with Øbama is no better than when Dan Rather let the "fake but accurate" TANG memos go through unchecked, and Øbama could put a stop to it if he chose to.  He does not.


    The "it's the rich's fault" meme is directly out of the oldest Democrat party playbook as well and leads to nothing but old fashioned class warfare, which does nothing to bring us together, because there will always be someone "richer" and "poorer" than you, and we have the classic vicious cycle.


    As soon as we discard the "diversity" crap and get back to being a melting pot, the sooner many of our problems will go away.  The Balkans proved that.

  4. Anne-EH on September 8, 2010 at 1:58 am

    What we are seeing right now are simply diversions or distractions that are going on in order to take our eyes off the "ball" which is a nation which has gone into a state of decline so very fast.

  5. Anne-EH on September 8, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Hi SOS:

    Just posted today this article in which you have blogged on.
    On the issue of the upcoming Koran burning, this all goes back to the ruling by the United States Supreme Court which said it is "legal" to burn the American flag. So in the "eyes of the law", this pastor has the legal right to burn the Koran. But the MORAL QUESTION is: Is it the right thing to do?

    With boots on the ground for real in Afghanistan, and in which I have a family relation over there for now, the second must be answered.

  6. socialenemy on September 8, 2010 at 2:46 am

    In a post about how the Dems are using race, religion, Nazism and class warfare to divide and conquer us and how we need to put that aside and come together as AMERICANS, the first reply is a classic liberal stepping in to blame the republicans for doing…. *crickets*… Oh thats right, their not the ones trying to divide anyone, in fact, as far as I can tell, their the only party that seems to be ignoring race, creed, religion or class and actually reaching out to the people, must be why all the polls say there is a democratic slaughter coming in november, hmmmmm?


    I'm so tired of people just replying to posts to try and start trouble. Its like every post with actual meaning or depth to it is followed right up with one of three people blaming the republicans, Bush, or just straight up blaming Jimmy himself for exactly what it is their party (dems) is doing. I hate growing up in a country where our children are taught to be dumb, I hate growing up in a country where it's ok to be ignorant, I hate growing up in a country where they encourage poverty. And trust me that is what they do. I graduated high school in 2003, I had liberal wacko teachers and if it wasn't for a guy at work telling me to listen to Rush and Jimmy, I'd still be a zombie, faithfully walking side by side to the slaughter with Obama.

    This country was founded on different beliefs and religions coming together for one thing. Freedom. And slinging insults at political parties is doing nothing but furthering the great divide between the American people. So how about instead of just randomly insulting a party and running away (like usual) you try adding to a conversation for a change?

    And this isn't to say the Republicans in the past haven't done their fair share of dividing, I do remember Bush telling people their either with us or against us. But then again, saying that about fighting terrorism and saying that as you protest in the front yard of the guy who runs your local bank are two totally different things.

  7. Lynn on September 8, 2010 at 3:12 am

    SOS, The continuing divisiveness is the biggest disappointment to me of the Obama Administration. I knew that with all the hatred of President Bush we would have a Democrat President. I vowed I would never be as partisan as the Democrats had been to President Bush. However, I was never prepared for his plan to dismantle all that is so great about our United States in such a short time.

    I don't know if it is avoidance on my part or what, but I look back in history for comfort. Could you imagine the fervor of the Loyalists and Revolutionists, brother against brother in the Civil War? Nothing is ever new, the United States has seen all kinds of hatred and diversion before. it has withstood before and it will again, but only with OUR help.

  8. Lynn on September 8, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Editorial Note: I need glasses: I meant hatred and division

  9. chris-os on September 8, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Yeah Dims, the repubs did try to reform health care-

    The health care reform bill that passed was designed by the GOP in 1993, with hundreds of their amendments contained in the bill.

    As far as the plans that they had for social security (Bush wanted to privatize it in 2005)-the fund would be totally broke today if that happened.


  10. chris-os on September 8, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Continued…and Dims as far as your big concerns with freddie and fannie-where are your posts demanding to know where are the trillions of dollars unaccounted for by the pentagon in the Iraq war? Unaccounted for…embezzled…

  11. Dimsdale on September 8, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Again, chris: links, facts, something to go on.  Throw me a bone!  Hillary's signature health care reform bill was designed by Republicans?  Can you point out where I wrote about Fannie and Freddy in this post?  And if you are correct about Pentagon embezzling (cite something, anything, please!), then by all means, throw the book at the perpetrators!!  But don't forget about Fannie and Freddie either, since you brought it up.


    As for the PARTIAL privatization of Social Security that Bush proposed, he didn't go far enough by any means.  As for totally broke, we are pretty much there now with the system you love.  We passed the break even point this year, and the prospects of the plan's bankruptcy keep getting moved up closer to the present.  Since Bush's plan was thoroughly vilified by the Democrats, we will never know what might have happened, other than the small percentage you got to save or invest would have been yours and yours alone.  If you have actual issues with it (CNN provided an overview at the time:… then spell them out.


    I suggest you look at Galveston, TX, who had the opportunity (a now closed loophole) to opt out of SS.  Their very conservative investments have paid handsome dividends (  Frankly, with the prospect of getting squat from SS and having to work until I drop thanks to the ever growing Øbama deficit, I would happily opt out of SS today.


    Once again, you completely avoided my post or didn't bother to read it.  We are STILL waiting for your response over at the Larson thread, by the way…

  12. Steve M on September 8, 2010 at 5:08 am

    So a post on the age of divisiveness creates … divisiveness in the comments section. Since we've slipped into blaming Republicans for "trillions" of embezzled Pentagon funds, and a couple of comments about social security, may as well toss in a discussion about the UAW for good measure.

    Just don't wonder why SOS or Jim elect to rarely bother with reading comments let alone adding their own.

  13. Dimsdale on September 8, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Probably gives them heartburn…..

  14. chris-os on September 8, 2010 at 5:49 am

    K-I get it-it is only devisive when someone debates a post-and if the bloggers do not want to read comments, well gee, why bother to have a comment section?

    Or, I know, have "please, limit comments to rightie talking points only" in the TOU.

  15. Tim-in-Alabama on September 8, 2010 at 8:29 am

    When the left is not dividing American, they're hijacking comment threads trying to distract the others from posting on topic. They don't want a discussion on the unhappiness they, they're political leaders and the Obama-Biden-Clinton-Reid-Pelosi-Frank-Dodd-Soros-Franken-msbnc-Matthews-Ogreman-Madcow-NYTimes-WashingtonPost-LATimes-HuffingtonPost-DailyKos cabal have caused.


  16. sammy22 on September 8, 2010 at 9:15 am

    The post was meant to divide. Otherwise why rattle off some selective "divisive issues" of the moment.

  17. Dimsdale on September 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

    No, it is "limit comments to the relevant points only".

  18. sammy22 on September 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

    So, Dims, where is the Glenn Beck statement on tape "he is racist" fall (naming if you must reminded of to the current President of the United States!!!)

  19. rickyrock on September 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Are you kidding..????……….divisiveness………..Last time I heard Glen Beck,Sara Palin .Sean Hannity I heard was Obama is a communist. socialist..Obama is a Nazi turning his back on the will of the people….you can't be serious …..Sara Palin turned her back on the the people that voted her into office …she resigned …remember???…The right has constantly used extremely divisive language "fear mongering on steroids"….have you been listening…All this negativity turns me off .The Republicans can't come up with any original ideas of their own ….all they talk about is winning in November..great more career politicians…  OK then what??? More tax breaks for the wealthy, less regulation so they can run unfettered (a la Wall Street) till we destroy the world economy…Divisive yes …..the Republicans are very divisive.

  20. djt on September 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    There are an increasing number of people who bounce from blogs such as this one, to conservative radio, to Fox news and on the other side, from msnbc to npr to the daily cos. What all those sites have in common is the giving of any, or very little, credit to the other point of view. Or for that matter, much criticism of its own. So all day, its "we're right and they're wrong." The divisiveness that springs from that should hardly be surprising.

  21. djt on September 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    sorry that was hastily and clumsily written…What I meant was that what those sites and sources have in common is the very little, if any, credit given to the "other side", or any criticism of its own side. Credit to the other side and blame of ones own is sometime deserved, yet is mostly ignored.

  22. Anne-EH on September 9, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Division is to be found on both sides. This nation is so polarized that right now that it is not surprising to blame the "other side" when the side doing the blaming shows divisions as well. Just a thought.

  23. Odonna on September 9, 2010 at 3:47 am

    chris-os:  Thank you for mistaking me for Dims.  The Republicans did introduce some modest attempts at healthcare market reform under Bush, but were blocked by the Democrats.

    Divisive politics is an old tool going back at least to 300 BC where in Plato's Republic Socrates describes democracy and its descent into tyranny.

    We as a populace do need to be better informed about basic economics, history, and the results of policies here and in other countries so that we will be less emotionally driven, and less manipulated by politicians, interest groups, and media.   

  24. Dimsdale on September 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Sammy: Beck recently apologized for that statement.? Feel free to run the original statement and the apology together.? (Has ?bama apologized for any of the statements he is currently making?)? Why would that stop ?bama from taking the high road or (gasp!) actually live up to his campaign promises?? You might add the Limbaugh “I hope he fails” statement as well.? Just be sure to include the context.

  25. rickyrock on September 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Glen Beck like Sarah Palin is a fraud and a phony……you can’t un-ring the bell as it were.It’s such a blatant technique that shock jocks use ..make outrageous, attention getting statements ……get people talking about you and then ………with all the fake contriteness you can muster, apologize …….I predict that Glen Beck will disappear just like the poisonous ether? he created.
    I have another question for you all…..Sarah Palin was voted to serve as governor by the people of Alaska ….she circumvented the democratic process ..turned her back on the electorate and resigned ….then has the nerve to say that Obama is thwarting the will of the people .what a hypocrite.Why isn’t anybody upset about that???

  26. PatRiot on September 9, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Let's take the Rham Emmanual theme of " never let a crisis go to waste".  The "Crisis" of devisiveness can be used to focus us on what is really important:  Our rights and being truely free Americans.

    All of our rights need to be used responsibly.  Just because you can burn a book, etc doesn't mean you should. 

  27. PatRiot on September 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    It seems we take the bait every time.  And we defend against the accusation ( black/white/ Repub/Dem,etc)  instead of refocusing on (for one) the preservation of our right to voice our differing opinions. 

    And the bipartisan instigating DC politicos laugh and continue their mad power grabbing, money spending binge.

    We have failed in our our responsibility.  It is up to the people to keep their government in line – Not the media, not the Supreme Court or even the military. It is very much llike failing to tend to a boiling pot of soup – if you don't stir the soup, the scum rises to the top.

  28. djt on September 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Odonna has it right. its about our own education. The way we get information, the sources we get it from and what we do with it is the cause of the devisiveness the original SOS post was referring to. The fact that the comment section of these posts usually devolves into the same conversation is proof. We choose some little piece of info or favorite target (in this case Obama, Rahm, Pelosi, Beck, Palin) we heard from one of the sources we always pay attention to because we agree with it, exaggerate it into a larger issue than is deserved or include it in a post where it doesn't really belong, and use it as a wedge issue.

    We all need to spend more time reading and listening to points of view with which we do not necessarily agree. Then we will be a truly educated elecorate, living in a country with more knowledgeable citizens.

  29. Dimsdale on September 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Well, ricky, with that forgiving attitude, I will assume that every "rung bell" by the president and his accomplices cannot be "unrung" as well.  I don't recall Limbaugh ever apologizing for his "fail" remark (and he should not).  How long have lefties been predicting his demise?


    "Fraud and phony" could very easily be applied to our current president.  Best be careful about that.  Your hatred of Palin is really irrelevant to this discussion. "Thwarting the will of the people" means ignoring their input and wishes.  Did Øbama thwart the will of the voters when he stopped being a senator and started being a candidate for president?  How about the many times he voted "present"?  Address the point of why Øbama is being so divisive on a daily basis.  Come back to the topic!

  30. NH-Jim on September 9, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Divisiveness will never go away; it has become a cancer on our society.  The treatment to which cannot simply be dissecting it from the masses.  Our nation is ending, I'm afraid, for there is no longer a respect for the fundamentals that had created it.  We go about our lives as we must to survive, live "freely", enjoy what fruits of our labor still exist, and, in some cases, indulge in our selfish desires.  Our country is no longer whole.  We are, as SOS puts it, divided into small fractional groups with vile and hatred towards one another and yes, I, too, am guilty.  Can we pronounce that we are still "One nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and justice for all"

  31. ctrefugee on September 10, 2010 at 4:43 am

    The smaller the the groups the better to control you. I understand everyone has "their" own agendas but as SOS said It all started with 'We the people…". I think a greater conciseness is starting to wake. And not to soon if you ask me.

  32. Dimsdale on September 10, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Diversity is division.


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