A flurry of research findings from Charles Blow in this morning's New York Times:
1) We say we want our representatives to advocate for "the common good," not for our immediate wants or needs, to pass legislation good for the nation, even if it isn't necessarily good for us individually or us as a region. However, research shows that congressmen and women who do just that, lose.
2) In the year of our Bicentennial, landslides in Presidential elections occurred in only 25% of the American's counties; in 2004, it was half.
3) More white people die every day than are born in this country. Among our five-year-olds, white non-Hispanics are now already a minority.
4) The median age for a woman's first child in this country is 25.7 years old; the median age for a woman to be married in this country is later--26.5, which indicates that more babies are born out of wedlock than in. That there would be some difference in the way we view abortion makes sense. Places where people marry later rather than earlier tend to vote more Democratic than Republican.
5) The percentage of the Americans who indicate confidence in "the church or organized religion" has dropped from 68 percent in 1975 to 48 percent in 2013, which may explain how acceptance of gay marriage has grown so greatly in recent years. Some individual states have made it legal; some others have made it illegal.
As, I suppose, some might expect of an African-American columnist from the NY Times, Charles Blow tends to blame Republicans for the growing divide, Republicans who, he says, pull "every lever to slow the change on the state level--gerrymandering, limiting voting access, passing anti-immigrant laws, cutting assistance to the poor."
He says he worries about the national will and ends the essay this way: "In the tumult and transition of change, we may be becoming a nation divided against itself." Hence the title.
A letter to the editor of yesterday's Siouxland Press, our little local paper, takes the other side. "Some of our leaders now brazenly support things which God Almighty called wicked and abominable. They are either not knowledgeable in God's word, or are defying God. The Holy Bible shows what happened to nations who dared to defy God, or that got so morally depraved that God finally destroyed them."
The writer, a man from Coalgate, Oklahoma, finishes the letter this way: "God wants us to love Him, obey Him, and serve Him, in return for the life He has given us. To get to know God, read the Word of God, the Holy Bible, from beginning to end."
On Friday, June 19, 1863, 150 years ago, the Richmond Daily Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, capital of the Confederacy, reported the news from the Civil War, the War of Northern Aggression, this way: "Our troops seem to be sweeping the Valley. See Gen. Lee's dispatch. Martinsburg is on the Baltimore and ohion Railroad, and they have doubtless, again destroyed that importnat line of railway. 'The vengeance of the Lord slumbers, but it never sleeps.'"
It may be helpful to remember that we've made it through much, much tougher times.