Just how divided are we?
: We are not as divided as media would paint us. Damnit.
Last night, I was listening to All Things Considered on the way home as they reported on the Supreme Court refusing to rule on keeping God in the Pledge of Allegiance. The anchor said this was a deeply divisive issue and some expert quoted said this was a cultural war over the soul of the nation.
C’mon, guys. Reality check! Does anybody really believe that the Pledge of Allegiance deeply divides us into a cultural war over the soul of the nation?
Oh, most people surely have opinions and those opinions may well be statistically divided. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready to go over war over the Pledge.
Now it’s time that a social scientist or a pollster to measure the passion of our opinions — and an issue better come out pretty high on that passion scale before any reporter can say it’s deeply divisive.
Imagine a 0-5 scale like this:
0 – Don’t give a damn.
1 – Would defend my view in a conversation
2 – Would start a conversation on the issue to say what I think.
3 – Would write a letter to the editor (or weblog post) on the issue.
4 – Would consider the issue when voting for a candidate.
5 – Would change a vote for a candidate over the issue.
Most issues that are called deeply divisive probably come out about 0.5 on that scale. We are not facing each other, armed, on the borders of red states vs. blue over the Pledge of frigging Allegiance. We might discuss it over coffee.
It’s time to demand accurate portrayal of just how divided we are — and aren’t.
: By the way, if this does take off — if reporters regularly report on how much people care about the issues they report — I hope it’s named the Jarvis Passion Scale just cuz I like the sound of it.