Today, politics in our nation is waged like war. Many observe that politics is pursued with the scorched earth strategy of war where the objective is to annihilate the opposition. But if we are to prosper as one nation, if we desire to end our undeclared civil war, then we must come to a new understanding of party and the idea of opposition.
Polarity: Fracture or Complement
It is common in political-speak today to describe our nation as "polarized." In an article entitled "Five Things We Learned on Election Night" CNN editor Paul Steinhauser wrote:
"The 2012 presidential election shattered spending records, further polarized a divided country and launched a thousand hashtags"."
But what does polarity really mean? Are opposite poles complements like "male and female," or do they represent irreconcilable contradictions?
The description of polarity imbedded in the quote has within it a view of polarity as irreconcilable differences or "fracture" as I have begun to call it. The concept of "fracture" is introduced and thoroughly discussed in my article entitled: "Law, Truth, Meaning and Lies: A Metaphysical View of Berea College v. the Commonwealth of Kentucky."
Jim Crow was instituted in the United States at the turn of the century. Jim Crow laws were intended to reverse the achievements of the Civil War and institute in the place of slavery, a structure of second class citizenship for the former American slaves.
The State of Kentucky adopted a set of Jim Crow laws in the early 1900's and then began their enforcement. The aim was to segregate whites from blacks. The tool was to make illegal certain associations between whites and blacks. The Berea College case was Jim Crow applied to higher education. The college was required by the new law to stop teaching whites and blacks together.
Berea College organized under the General Laws of Kentucky in 1859. Thus, at the time when the State of Kentucky indicted the school (1904), whites and blacks had been attending school together since the school's inception -- approximately 45 years.
The article asserts a few essential concepts. First:
"Laws, legal argument, and legal analysis all exist by making distinctions"....that traditional legal analysis creates distinctions by creating conceptual oppositional pairs: like the public/private distinction. This is how meaning is created."
In other words, lawyers from law school forward, deal with "oppositional pairs" like the "public v. private" distinction. We discover that these oppositions are necessary to create meaning and eventually final outcomes. We work with them on a daily basis our entire careers. Most of the time we arrive at "meaning" and/or "results" by balancing these pairs of opposites. But sometimes -- like in the case of Berea College -- the opposing concepts do not achieve their ends via a process of balancing. Instead they achieve their ends via a process I have called "fracture."
Polarization that balances is the polarization of complementarity: like male and female. But a polarization that separates and annihilates is a polarization of fracture: like white/black segregation. About polarization that fractures I wrote:
""....Fracturing, then, is a process of privileging through polarization where the polarizing process is somehow taken to the extreme. It is this extreme polarization--stretching the rubber band beyond its bounds until it breaks--that creates the fracturing of the relationship. Extreme polarization destroys. The method utilized is to destroy the form (oppositional pair) and thereby achieve a destruction of substance."
Republicans vs. Democrats: Freedom, Unity, Party and Purpose