ROBINSON: Can we survive the battle of ‘blue’ vs ‘red’ and come out Americans?

This commentary by Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, Nov. 8. Local columns printed alongside it are linked below.

After touring that hollowed battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I was astounded that we, as a nation, survived.

Three days before the Fourth of July in 1863, the Union lost 3,155 lives. The Confederacy lost 3,903 lives.

Visitors often say they can sense the presence of the battle and the nation’s sorrow.

I know I did.

We visited Gettysburg a few years ago, but it stuck with me.

I’ve been thinking about that battle and others in the American Civil War lately, partly because some subscribe to the notion that we are in the middle of an ideological civil war now.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Instead of South vs. North, this time it is so-called blue state ideas vs. red state ideas. Right or wrong, people have been forced to pick a side.

If we are at war, I contend that it is a manufactured one magnified by the nation’s Dumpster-fire-rolling-down-a-hill political climate.

Liberals have demonized conservatives and conservatives have done the same to liberals.

A 2019 Gallup poll found that the nation’s ideological balance remains center-right: a conservative Democrat or a liberal Republican.

On average, 37 percent of Americans identified as conservative during that year, 35% as moderate and 24% as liberal. The survey of 29,000 U.S. adults measured how people identify themselves, not what they actually are.

What conservative and liberal mean depends on who and where you are in the country.

What a conservative is to a Californian is different than what it is to an Ohioan. An Ohio liberal might be far more conservatives than one from California.

We as a nation love our labels whether they be political or otherwise. That’s one thing I think we all can agree on, even though the labels often divide us unnecessarily.

Liberals have died alongside conservative countrymen on battlefields thousands of miles from America’s shores.

In the end, people aren’t “liberal” or “conservative.” At best, people ascribe to liberal or conservative philosophies.

Many are somewhere in the middle.

Your liberal daughter is still your daughter, with all the love that hopefully comes with that.

The neighbor who collects your mail while you are on vacation hopefully can still be your “neighbor,” whether or not he or she voted for Trump or Biden in the presidential election.

Our nation in many ways continues to heal from the American Civil War that left 620,000 Americans dead.

It will take us some time to get over the blue vs. red state battle, be it real or manufactured.

I think we can.

We, as a nation, can do more than survive.

Columnist Amelia Robinson is the the Dayton Daily News community impact editor.

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