According to the study called “Hidden Tribes: A Study in the America’s Polarized Landscape” (by the international group More in Common), experts concluded Americans can be placed into one of seven categories based on their beliefs. From far left to far right, there are progressive activists, traditional liberals, passive liberals, the politically disengaged, moderates, traditional conservatives and devoted conservatives. While the percentages for each extreme left and right are small, 25 percent of Americans consider themselves traditional or devoted conservatives.
The largest group is the politically disengaged, making up 26 percent of all voters. A statistic that a full 80 percent of Americans believe is that political correctness has become a problem in our country. The report supports that Americans are generally more moderate than most think, with two-thirds of Americans being in the middle and labeled as the “exhausted majority.” This group encompasses moderates to passive liberals, and they collectively claim to be tired of tribal politics, political correctness, fatigued by the national conversation and feel left out.
The stress of COVID-19 has not helped to curb tribal enthusiasm to push for greater divisions. This American study was done prior to the pandemic; it would be interesting to see what a new study would reveal and what shifts have occurred. I suspect the exhausted majority have not shrunk and possibly have even grown. I know many that I speak with are confused, frustrated and tired of the current political climate.
Those Worth Recognizing
One group of people that deserve a pause in tribal bantering and an applause is our health care workers. The vast majority are under-paid and do their job because they care and want to help people. In April, when New York was hit hard with the virus, they stepped up and rushed in to help. This is what Americans are historically known to do: fly-overs, free meals and applause are certainly appreciated.
However, consider the average health care worker only makes $10.50 per hour. Yet hospital visits are off the charts—something is not adding up. It took a global health crisis for us to see how valuable these people are to our country. They put aside political differences, rolled up their sleeves and went to work, because it was the right thing to do. If you question the American work ethic, look no further than our health care workers.
Young people today get a bad rap for being the “trophy” generation. Meaning they were raised and got a trophy for just participating. I agree this sends a bad message but it does seem many of these young people were part of the health care workers that stepped up when needed. Fifty-two percent of Americans are fearful we might head back to becoming too politically correct, where 33 percent feel this is what the country needs more of. Striking the balance and moving forward is what this country desperately needs during these most trying of times.
Head Back to the Post
Today, we seem to be living on over-reaction and decisions made based on partial truths or twisted facts. An example would be the U.S. Post Office and the push to privatize this great American institution. While currently in serious financial trouble, the issue started in 2006 with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. This law significantly changed how the Post Office operates and conducts business.
One rule requires the office to pre-fund medical benefits for retirees, while another rule essentially does not allow rate increases. Consider the U.S. Post Office must compete with private delivery service companies that can refuse to deliver to some areas and have various rates for zones, yet a first-class letter will be delivered anywhere in the country for the same price. Some feel the postal workers are just lazy whiners. I can assure you that other countries wish they had our postal service. I hope the Postal Office does not become privatized.
I have a good friend who delivers the mail. Even with social distancing, he will not see me; he knows he is at high risk and has had fellow workers test positive for COVID-19. I consider him to be similar to the health care worker. America is full of these kind of people; maybe we need to take care of them, with decent wages, benefits and some job security. Yet it seems we target them to become corporate cannon fodder, all for higher stock prices. America is better than this.