Talking about it does no good, either. To the left, a person from the right talking about their agenda, and describing what it does in no uncertain terms, is engaging in insults and opprobrium, therefore does not deserve a fair hearing, and should be silenced. They cannot understand in any objective way what the criticism of their agenda actually is. And the left is incapable of even entertaining an initiative, if it comes from the right.
What is worse, both sides apply (different) double standards. The left, for example, always extend to their own a free pass on speech and conduct which they universally condemn in the right (e.g., Bill Clinton vs. Bob Livingston [remember him?]; Bill Maher vs. Rush Limbaugh). They also are quick to make icons of those who endure the slings and arrows of the right, while at the same time never acknowledging or apologizing for the harm to others they cause themselves.
For their part, those on the right cannot separate motives from personalities when it comes to dealing with those on the left, while they have no problem doing so with their own kind.
The result is an ever-widening gulf. What is scary is that as their separation increases, neither side seems willing to try to reverse the trend. Each is pushing the extreme without any interest in accommodating the other.
Want examples? Start with Obamacare, and the following justification for her recently announced directives to all insurers to provide contraceptive and abortion coverage by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House panel Thursday that a reduction in the number of human beings born in the United States will compensate employers and insurers for the cost of complying with the new HHS mandate that will require all health-care plans to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions.
“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception,” Sebelius said. She went on to say the estimated cost is “down not up.”
Secretary Sebelius simply could not understand why someone like Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa) would question her rationale:
“So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?” Murphy asked.
Sebelius replied, “Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children.”
Murphy again sought clarification.
“Not having babies born is a critical benefit. This is absolutely amazing to me. I yield back,” he said.
Sebelius responded, “Family planning is a critical health benefit in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine.”
What is the gulf here? I will spell it out: for the left, contraception and abortion are critical methods of "family planning" in order to limit family size. It becomes "rational" to them, therefore, to provide such methods at no cost. And if insurers have to provide coverage for fewer and fewer people from cradle to grave in the future, it will cost them less. So they will be willing (the reasoning goes) to provide now for contraception and abortion "at no cost to their insureds."
(There is one slight problem with this reasoning, which another Republican legislator pointed out: if it is in the insurance companies' interest to provide abortion and contraception coverage at no cost, then why aren't they providing that coverage for free now? Why does the Government have to order them to provide it?)
For the right, however, the population trends in advanced countries are already alarming. Europe and Japan are on a decline which will soon be irreversible, and which will lead to their essential irrelevance in a little over fifty years. The United States teeters on the edge of not replacing with new births each year the members of society which it loses through death; it is saved from absolute decline only by its high rate of immigration. But if the Sebelius policies kick in as intended, the United States will be shoved into joining Europe and Japan on the road to extinction, in a world dominated by Chinese, Indians and Muslims.
Result: the left sees nothing wrong in encouraging abortion and contraception as a means of shrinking future population growth. The right sees the left's policy as ensuring the decline of America (to say nothing -- at least, when it comes to abortion as a means of birth control -- of being immoral).
How does one begin to try to bridge this gap? I for one see no possible way. One side is going to have to gain power, and stay in power long enough, to make its policies irreversible after they become entrenched enough.
The problem is that the left's policies are a one-way ratchet: once the country is bankrupt and childless, there will be no rescue except through revolution. The right's policies, on the other hand, are always capable of being reversed by the next election -- because they do not depend on the entrenchment of government. They instead seek to maximize individual liberty and freedom, and there will always be those who will want to curb such things in "the interests of society as a whole."
The result is that, for the right, every election is a brand-new battle, to defend territory previously won from being taken away. But for the left, each time they prevail in an election offers an opportunity for further encroachment on individual liberties (think: first toilets, then light bulbs, and now religious freedom), with the result that it becomes harder and harder to reverse course.
An indebted America is a weakened America, and under Obama's so-called "budget", the debt simply keeps growing and growing -- well past his second administration(if there is one) and into the foreseeable future. But he doesn't see "weak"; he sees simply greater and greater opportunities to spend money to further the left's objectives.
The left's final insult? After they have destroyed the economy and social infrastructure, they simply walk away from it and refuse to accept any responsibility for what happened. And then they look for an opportunity to apply the same policies and objectives all over again -- somewhere else, of course.
So there will be no bridges between left and right, for the foreseeable future. The left wants nothing of the right's cockamamie notions, and the last thing the right wants to do is compromise with the left's policies in order to have just a little less of them.
The 2012 election will be a watershed for this country's future.