Why Are We So Divided?

No matter which metric you use, it seems like there is a yawning gap between people. We are more divided than ever. What is fueling this growing difference?

Short of an escalation into violence, it’s difficult to imagine a more divided population than exists in the United States and the world.

Income inequality means more families are struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, wealth is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

There are more people leaving organized religion with each passing year. Those that remain feel persecuted.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’


But by far, the most intense division is political. Individuals in different political parties can’t even seem to have a civil conversation. Each side believes the other one is destroying the country. As a result, we are self-selecting into opposing neighborhoods, cities, and states. Nuance, complexity, and compromise are forgotten or ignored.

How did we get here? What is the cause of this division? Is it a media that is chasing advertising money? Or political leaders looking to consolidate power and influence? Are the wealthy looking to collect even more money? Are the poor lazy and shiftless? Alternately, are social media outlets — a new technology — spreading misinformation in the interest of attracting viewers?

In your opinion, who is to blame for our current state of disunity? And more importantly, perhaps, how can we reverse that trend and see our commonalities rather than our differences? Why are we so divided?

Related questions: What do we have in common? How can we encourage meaningful conversation? Why do we hate? How do we know we are right?

How Do You Need Help?

No one person is able to do everything that needs to be done. As a result, everyone needs help now and then. Do you know the ways in which you need help?

A surefire way to lead to failure is to try to do everything by yourself. In all likelihood, you will exhaust your own energy, raise your own stress level, and fall short of your various goals.

Successful people are good at involving others in their endeavors. For example, most successful marriages involve two people who are stronger together than each is separately. When one person might be overextended, a second person can help to lighten the load.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Are we too busy?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’


Similarly, a person might benefit from the help of family and friends in their personal life, and from co-workers or employees in their profession. One person cannot do it all, whether the “it” in question is raising a family, maintaining a household, or running a business.

And yet, asking for help is too often stigmatized in our society. It might be viewed as a sign of weakness, or seen as a lack of commitment. Even if others might not believe that to be true, sometimes an individual may fear that is the way such a request will be taken.

Asking for help when you need it is crucial. But what happens if you don’t realize — or can’t admit — that you need help after all?

Do you know when you need help? How?

Related questions: How can you help? Are we too busy? How do you define success? What makes a good leader?

How Will The Economy Be Impacted By COVID-19?

There are many questions surrounding the global pandemic due to COVID-19. In addition to the questions regarding containment, vaccines, deaths, and the like, is a very complicated issue: the economy.

There are multiple ways this might impact the global, as well as local, economy.

Short-Term Issues

The most direct problem has to do with interrupted supply chains. When a global economy meets a global pandemic, goods that would typically travel halfway around the world don’t get made. Work forces are incapacitated, travel restrictions are enacted, and end users are sick or on lockdown. As a result, buying and selling of goods doesn’t happen as it normally would.

In addition to that, uncertainty causes stock markets around the world to crash. In turn, this causes wealth to vanish and retirement funds to shrink.

Also, stay-at-home orders means travel companies like airlines and trains have few customers. Large gatherings being outlawed effectively put sports, theater, and music concerts out of operation. Restaurants and bars are restricted to delivery and take-out business. Non-essential businesses are closed.

Long-Term Issues

Whenever the crisis has passed and life returns to relative normality, there may well be many companies, small and large, that go out of business, leading to wide-scale unemployment. A global recession is possible, and maybe even likely.

To try and prevent too much economic hardship, governments are introducing stimulus bills. These may or may not work, but either way, they will add a large burden to the national debt of countries.

On top of everything else is the issue of the effect of the disease. There will be a significant number of worldwide illnesses and deaths. So, how will the loss of these people impact the economy? What will happen to health care workers and systems that have been stretched to — and often past — their limits?

It’s impossible to know what the future holds. But it is possible to think about trends, and to attempt to learn from past experiences. What do you think will happen to the local, national, and global economies? How will the economy be impacted by COVID-19?

Related questions: What is your five year prediction? Ten? COVID-19? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? What are you optimistic about?