Today nearly everyone has become acutely aware of the huge and growing divide between Americans on cultural issues. We could quote statistics without end documenting the growing acceptance of immoral behavior among large sections of the populace while others remain staunchly resistant.
The recent Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade, the court’s 1973 decision that made abortion legal across the country, has starkly revealed Americans’ ideological split over this issue. The changes in American K-12 education that allow teachers in many school districts to divide children between “the oppressors and the oppressed” has sparked backlash among millions of American parents.
We see the growing rift among the states. Newscasters, pundits and others point out that liberal and liberal-leaning “Blue America” covers the American Northeast, the West Coast and a few interior states such as Illinois, Colorado and New Mexico. The rest, mostly the Midwest, Southeast, Plains states and most of the Mountain states, are now classed as conservative-leaning “Red America.”
Michael Podhorzer, a longtime political strategist for labor unions who heads the liberal Analyst Institute, says the two blocs should be thought of as “fundamentally different nations uneasily sharing the same geographic space.” He further writes: “When we think about the United States, we make the error of imagining it as a single nation, a marbled mix of Red and Blue people. But in truth, we have never been one nation. We are more like a federated republic of two nations: Blue Nation and Red Nation. This is not a metaphor; it is a geographic and historical reality” (Michael Brownstein, “America Is Growing Apart, Possibly for Good,” The Atlantic, June 24, 2022).
Yet the division is becoming more pronounced. As conservative commentator Pat Buchanan recently wrote: “For a nation, a country, a people, a democracy to endure, there needs be a broad consensus of belief, culture, custom and politics . . . We are a country whose people have a diminishing confidence in almost all of its institutions, from big business to the churches, universities and media” (“How, When, Do We Come Together Again?” Aug. 15, 2022).
Is the country again becoming a “house divided,” as Abraham Lincoln, using imagery from Jesus Christ, asked during the American Civil War? And where will this take us?
The growing divide is prompting the rise of parallel institutions. Social media restrictions and censoring have given rise to new, more conservative, social media platforms like Parler and Gettr. The nation has always had church-owned private schools, but now we see them exploding in numbers as more and more parents recoil from anti-religious and immoral teachings in public schools.
Conservative universities such as Hillsdale College and overtly religious schools attract more interest as parents revolt against the lax moral attitudes and socialist policies of most of what passes for higher education in America today.
Following the old marketing advice of “Find a need and fill it,” enterprising entrepreneurs have started conservative alternatives to the increasingly liberal mainstream media. Rupert Murdoch launched Fox News in the mid-1990s, which almost immediately enjoyed success. Conservative newspapers soon followed, such as The Epoch Times in 2000 and the Washington Examiner in 2004, the latter launched as a direct competitor to the liberal Washington Post. They join other established conservative media outlets such as Breitbart, Human Events and The Washington Times.
When first launched, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were hailed as the ultimate platforms for the free exchange of ideas. But it’s since become obvious that free expression on them is severely restricted by liberal progressive censors. Efforts to launch conservative social media sites have met with limited success so far, although sites such as previously mentioned Parler and Gettr, as well as Gab, do allow for expression of all viewpoints and are slowly growing.
Mass migrations: voting with their feet
For centuries, mass migrations of people have occurred primarily for economic and political purposes. And we see that now with the recent “Great Migration” of Americans moving from liberal states to conservative states. States with heavy tax burdens, strangling regulations and high crime resulting from lax law enforcement and prosecution are steadily losing residents to states avoiding these problems.
Forbes magazine reported that even before the Covid pandemic, California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois lost more than four million residents between 2010 and 2019, with most moving to Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio and Arizona, all characterized by having conservative governments, business-friendly policies and relatively lower tax rates (“America’s Mass Migration Intensifies as ‘Leftugees’ Flee Blue States and Counties for Red,” March 17, 2021).
The same report cited Denver as a prime example of a major city with liberal, progressive leadership that failed utterly to stop the riots that took place in the summer of 2020, causing millions of dollars in property damage. Many migrated to out-lying suburbs and towns where they felt safer.
Of course, many more have since moved in the face of Covid restrictions, skyrocketing crime and transgender promotion.
Academia has taken notice of these patterns, realizing them as a sign of the growing political divide in America. Forbes quotes Bruce Desmarais, a political science professor and associate director of Penn State University’s Center for Social Analytics, which conducted a study on the issue. He terms it “a geographic form of polarization.”
The question often arises: Do the immigrants bring the progressive attitudes of the states they left, or do they reject those attitudes and adopt the prevailing political attitudes of their new homes? Studies suggest it is more the latter. The Penn State study indicates that people prefer to live in ideological “silos” where they interact with those who think as they do.
Corporations fleeing blue states
Corporations have joined this migration, with a steady stream abandoning blue states and moving their headquarters and operations into red states. As some pundits have pointed out, America seems to be dividing into the more prosperous, high-growth states versus those entering what could be long slides into economic decline.
Over the past three years, corporate and tech powerhouses such as Tesla, Hewlett Packard, Remington and Oracle have joined hundreds of other companies leaving Illinois, California, New York and New Jersey. Their destinations? Texas, Tennessee, Arizona and Florida, where lower taxes, lower costs of living and business-friendly policies are proving irresistible magnets.
The states left behind face eroding tax bases, and some try to make up for the loss by raising taxes on those remaining—which pushes out yet more people and businesses. Wirepoints, an Illinois-based economic research group, reports that Illinois has lost population for the last 21 years straight, with 114,000 leaving the state in 2021 alone. These exiting populations have cost the state more than $25 billion in lost tax revenue, contributing to 21 consecutive years of state budget deficits.
Two states, Texas and Florida, are major beneficiaries of the Great Migration and exemplify the growing cultural and political differences between red and blue states. Texas’ low taxes and business-friendly policies helped it rapidly recover jobs lost during the pandemic. Its economy, built on a strong base of energy, manufacturing, technology, finance and health care, has seen almost 250 corporate relocations since 2015.
Florida, which has enjoyed two decades of net in-migration, saw a population influx of 624,000 new residents in 2020 alone, more people than the population of Wyoming and almost as many as Vermont. These new residents, and dozens of corporate transfers, grew the state’s total income by more than $40 billion in 2020, and nearly $197 billion over the past two years.
Could America split into two nations, as it did in 1861? That seems unlikely, though a recent poll by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics found that 28 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government is corrupt and that citizens may ultimately have to take up arms against it. Yet that’s looking far down the line.
It seems more likely that America will de facto become two ideologically distinct “nations” with one set of borders and one flag. States with more conservative populations would form a great mass, largely between the two coasts. Those with liberal progressive views would largely occupy the coastal areas, except for the south Atlantic and Gulf Coast. In Congress, both “subnations” would agree to support the armed forces, continue the use of a common national currency and support the other functions of a common federal government.
Of course, there are people who would like to push matters into open warfare, including globalists and others who want to weaken and divide America overall.
The changes already taking place will continue to divide Americans, who will increasingly remain in or migrate to areas where they feel culturally, politically and economically comfortable. If the U.S. Supreme Court continues to recognize the right of the states to set their own policies on issues formerly decided at the federal level, states will go their own ways on so many issues that they, like icebergs on the open sea, will continue to drift apart.
Division leads to destruction
The Bible tells the story of how ancient Israel near the height of its power split into two nations, Israel and Judah (see “An Ancient National Divide” above). These two nations continued to drift farther apart, especially in religious and cultural matters, at times warring against each other. Both nations languished under wicked rulers, though Judah had a few righteous ones.
The northern kingdom of Israel continued for about 200 years until a resurgent Assyria conquered the country and carried its people into captivity. The southern kingdom of Judah struggled on for more than a century following until the Babylonians invaded and took most of the population away into captivity.
Today, America’s division into two nations under one flag is ongoing and appears likely to continue. The differences will further weaken the nation, making the country more vulnerable to foreign enemies, as happened to ancient Israel. But will it suffer the same fate as ancient Israel—the nation destroyed, its people in captivity to foreign powers?
Your Bible shows that this will indeed happen. We would do well to remember Christ’s own words: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). We would be wise to prepare for this eventuality.
An Ancient National Divide
By the 930s B.C., ancient Israel had enjoyed decades of prosperity and greatness under King David and his son Solomon. After Saul’s death, David had united the Hebrew tribes and subdued the Israelites’ enemies.
Taking advantage of problems plaguing the country’s larger neighbors, Solomon expanded the kingdom to the Euphrates River in the north, increasing Israel’s territory by more than 50 percent. Egypt and Mesopotamia, Israel’s most powerful rivals at the time, were experiencing power vacuums and internal turmoil.
The Egyptian pharaoh even gave his daughter to Solomon in marriage, “a concession almost without parallel in Egyptian history, since it was a candid admission to the world of Egypt’s weakness” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 915). In partnership with Hiram, the Phoenician king of Tyre, Solomon built a fleet of merchant ships that sailed unmolested through the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. In this powerful alliance, Israel under Solomon was the dominant partner.
But Solomon knew the source of his power and success: he looked to God, as his father David had. On becoming king, Solomon prayed for an extra measure of wisdom, knowledge and understanding to rule the nation (1 Kings 3:8-9; 2 Chronicles 1:8-12).
Solomon’s power, wealth and reputation for wisdom became known throughout the Middle East. Potentates came to seek his guidance and advice. The Queen of Sheba was one, wanting to “test him with hard questions . . . and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart” (1 Kings 10:1-2).
Yet, despite Solomon’s affluence and understanding, this idyllic situation was not to last. The Bible records that he turned from God in his latter years, largely due to the influence of his hundreds of wives and concubines, many of them foreigners (1 Kings 11:3-4).
Israel entered into a downward spiral. Solomon began building altars and temples for his pagan wives and instituted the worship of their gods. As he turned from God, God began to turn His back on him, sending enemies to challenge him, as 1 Kings 11 records.
The most powerful and influential of these enemies was Jeroboam, a “mighty man of valor” whom Solomon had made overseer of much of his labor force. As the prophet Ahijah revealed, God would divide Solomon’s kingdom after his death, and Jeroboam would reign over 10 of the 12 tribes (1 Kings 11:29-32).
Ahijah’s prophecy was fulfilled. Jeroboam sought refuge from Solomon in Egypt. But shortly after Solomon’s death he returned. Now spokesman for the northern 10 tribes, he approached Solomon’s son and new king Rehoboam, asking that Israel’s tax load be lightened. But Rehoboam listened to his younger advisers, who counseled him to actually increase the tax load, and the northern tribes rebelled.
Israel’s reply to Rehoboam summed up the people’s frustration and anger: “What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now see to your own house, O David!” (1 Kings 12:16). The northern tribes revolted, leaving only Judah and Benjamin, the two southern tribes, along with many Levites who had no tribal territory, still under Davidic rule. Thus the most powerful nation in the Middle East at the time split.
Today, as we enter the third decade of the 21st century, America is still the world’s most powerful country. But we should ask: Do we see a rift developing that will tear it apart?