Splitting America

By Doug Powers

If Kerry and Edwards win the election, they’ll really need to think about creating a Department of Homeland Divisiveness, complete with an Envy Czar, so those of us who are still confused about which America we belong to can have federal assistance in knowing exactly who we’re supposed to hate.

Since early in the presidential campaign, when John Edwards was still in the running for his party’s nomination, he’s delivered his infamous “two Americas” speech. In Edwards’ stock talk, he tells of how there is one America that has all the cool stuff, and another America that gets the shaft. Now, on the campaign trail as the vice presidential nominee, he’s still using the “divide and conquer” mantra, attempting to part America as skillfully and evenly as his hair.

Are there really “two Americas”? For Kerry and Edwards, there most certainly are. There is one America without health insurance, and another America that has made a fortune driving insurance costs so high that the astronauts on the orbiting International Space Station may have to be sent out to retrieve the operating budgets of insurance companies and health-care providers.

There is one America that was attacked on 9-11, and another America politicizing the tragedy by claiming that they could have saved the world during that few extra minutes Bush spent reading to school children. Kerry said he would have done it differently, perhaps by bringing the class screening of “Apocalypse Now” to a premature end, and excusing himself from the classroom after re-reminding them about his Vietnam service, leaving the confused kids asking their teacher, “Mrs. Smith, what’s a SWIFT boat?”

There is one America in the Midwest – in this case Iowa – and another America that goes trolling for votes by hanging out the window of a bus holding ears of corn. The bait of choice – a “bumpkin jigger” – used by condescending political fisherman in the Hawkeye State hoping for a big catch of lever-pullers. In the near future, watch as the bus rolls through other states, and you’ll see different bait appear in the window as an offering from first America to second America. In Florida, Kerry may hold oranges. In Idaho, watch for potatoes, and when the bus rolls through Utah, if I were an Osmond, I’d hide.

There is one America that says that you should have the same health-care plan as your senator, and another America that cringes at the idea of being stuck in a waiting room listening to Robert Byrd mutter something about the “pretty birdies” while he’s reading an ornithology magazine so old that the lead article is about the best place to spot pterodactyls. And people don’t want to sit next to Ted Kennedy while he blows in their ear and asks, “Does this look infected to you?”

“Two Americas” is a lie of, well, Kerry-Edwards proportions. If anything, there are 290 million Americas – one for each of us. That’s what’s great about the United States. Success, failure, mediocrity – it’s all up to the individual, not a couple of politicians whose only successful economic recovery plans in the past have been “marry money” and “sue money.”

Sure, Kerry and Edwards say the economy can get better, but beware – like I have said before, a politician complaining about the economy is like the Menendez brothers whining about being orphans.

As for the likes of Kerry and Edwards, candidates who push the idea of “two Americas” don’t mention where they dwell. That’ because they live in the not very well camouflaged “third America” – a place where bitterness and class envy are crossbred like they’re being prepped for a Westminster Kennel Club show, and motivation to succeed and personal responsibility are purposely poisoned by jealousy and race baiting, for no reason other than selfish continuance of a culture of dependence.

A “third America” where every day is Halloween, and “demagoguery” and “fear mongering” go trick-or-treating while costumed in the cheap plastic masks of “optimism” and “hope,” and a “third America” where the farmers are taught to separate the wheat from the chaff by getting the two to hate each other.

Even if there really were “two Americas,” this wouldn’t be the way to go about getting them back together. Kerry and Edwards say they want to “build one America,” but it’s tough to construct something when the only tools you know how to use are pry bars and wrecking balls.