May 18th, 2009
09:34 PM ET

Can we overcome the divide?

Program Note: AC360° Contributor Robert Zimmerman will be on the show tonight, here are the questions he's thinking about, and we'd like to hear your thoughts about them. Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET

Robert Zimmerman

In this country, can we build a dialogue around the issues we care about or is the divide too great? The people are ready to work together. Will the politicians allow it to happen?

Filed under: 360° Radar • Robert Zimmerman
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    To Robert Hill: You are so intellectually correct and your point is right on point. Thank you.

    May 19, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  2. SLM

    Obama has more in common with Carter than any other former president and that is a big fear.

    May 19, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  3. Art

    This land is slowly becoming the haves and have nots. This irresponsible and reckless behavior has already caused heartache and misery. It's up to everyone to stop it. By the way, have you ever been called Bob Dylan Mr. Zimmerman.

    May 19, 2009 at 6:13 am |
  4. Tyrone Thompson

    I certainly believe that gay men and women should be able to serve openly in the military. And if not, that is discrimination against another human being.

    May 19, 2009 at 3:20 am |
  5. Gail Ellis Duncan

    Divide comes when we do not see or feel the pain/struggles of others and care for the welfare of ourselves and the planet. We will either be forces into change or heed the wake-up call.Problems do not go away on there own but through conscious actions that take into consideration all the people regardless of the label(s) in place. We must take back our control and have the government work for us and not sit back and just take what, if any, we get. Instead of war against this and that, let us embrace pro education, health care, job creation, opportunities, recycle and and and. Use the media and internet to express this and soon people may look within and make that change.

    May 19, 2009 at 2:48 am |
  6. Patrick scully

    I predict the private insurance industry will be shut down, and be absorbed by gov agency to reduce duplicity and be centralized by region and health care premiums will be paid directly to medicare. Thats the only way it will work! Too expensive otherwse

    May 19, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  7. Patrick scully

    The gov will then drive expense down per person, but ultimately have to cap cost of surgeries,- or then determine who gets treatment. We dont want that- so the med industry has to give up mil dollar salaries to make it work. Will they,? is the question.

    May 19, 2009 at 2:11 am |
  8. Patrick scully

    The only way to correct healthcare is for gov to run it- cap it from top to bottom, and NOT by raising taxes on everyone-doctors, nurses and all med employee will have to have salary caps at major low limits. Cap law suits, and ins costs at bare mins!

    May 19, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  9. Patrick scully

    Saving an unborn child with a known longterm care birth, will soon prompt debate based on expense and projected drain on socialized healthcare, at some point, there has to be public consensus to limit financial liabilities we cant cover. We dont want that

    May 19, 2009 at 2:00 am |
  10. Patrick scully

    If its not a money issue, and we have a moral obligation to prolong life at any cost, the healthcare reform is a moot point, right? Its definately about money today, and we are close to let the sick die if treating them burdens society financially? Maybe.

    May 19, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  11. Patrick scully

    Are we at a time in our society where monetary expense of care supercedes value of life? The draining cost on the whole system to save terminally ill, the elderly, and those not paying into the system is unsustainable! We cant tax the healthy to death!

    May 19, 2009 at 1:46 am |
  12. Patrick scully

    Healthcare reform: make medical professionals govt workers, cap salaries and profit marg. Cap equipment cost, and pay for r and d with taxes- or, cap user/patient benefit, services aka limits of liability aka put a cost on life and expense per person.

    May 19, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  13. leon Archer

    Being gay is a behavior! In the military your behavior will be controlled by the "The Uniform Code Of Military Justice." I served for 8 years in the Military, and I'm heterosexual, but, I just couldn't go sleep with someone else wife. According to The U.C.O.M.J., this type of behavior could have costed me 10 years imprisonment. I don't think that gays just want to serve, I think they want to change the military to accommodate their lifestyle.

    May 19, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  14. Dr Donna K Buechler

    The people that oppose gays–what would you do to get rid of all of us. As Hitler did to the Jews he also did to homosexuals. Is that your solution? I don't understand opposing us. WE EXIST EVERYWHERE. We are living breathing loving human being with families & jobs & bills just like everyone else. NO–it is not a choice I made. I have a PhD is psychology–do you really think I would choose to be persecquted rather than accepted. I love who I am but it took a lot of psychological work to get beyond the engrained hatred I had learned before I realized my own identity. I became happy after I accepted myself instead of trying to be hetersexual. But, I still live in some fear for my life. Is that what you want for the family member or friend who is hiding their true identity from you?

    May 19, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  15. Thane


    The position that our military is more afraid of gays than they are of Al Qaeda is pathetically off the mark. What may be true is that many Americans may be afraid or embarrassed (perhaps out of some moral obligation to be polite) to articulate the fact that we simply find their personal choices of intimacy to be morally offensive, distasteful, and disgusting and care not to be exposed.

    The “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy is the common ground and is exceeding tolerant. Let me be perfectly clear, it is not an issue of fear it is an issue of disgust. We’re not afraid of the Gay and Lesbian life style; we just don’t like it, simple. Further, I (we shouldn’t) really don’t care what any one thinks. What’s someone going to do, tell us we don’t have the right to be offended? Give me a break!

    May 19, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  16. shay

    The issues that involve religious beliefs of the people and the interpretation of the bible of that religion will never try to close the divide. The catholic church and it's leaders of the church have too much power and control and they want to keep it that way. Example abortion, in Canada a fetus is a human being only when it has completely proceded, in a living state, from the body of it's mother. The catholic church wants everyone to live by their "religion" and say it's a human being when it's a fertilized egg. But this country is NOT run by their religion–or anyone elses.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  17. Mike in NYC

    Let's see:

    "...can we build a dialogue around the issues we care about..."

    You mean the issues that the MSM decides to allow through the filter? Within the boundaries of debate that the MSM establishes?

    "The people are ready to work together."

    Says who? "The people" is a meaningless abstraction. This nation is a stew of contradictory group interests, and it’s just starting to bubble.

    "Will the politicians allow it to happen?"

    Questions like that are Gerbers for the mind. Yeah, blame it all on "politicians." Like the "politicians" are the only thing standing in the way of the Golden Age.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  18. JC-Los Angeles

    You suggest "the people are ready to work together;" how on earth do you arrive at this fact?

    Here in Los Angeles, no one works together; the Jewish community sticks together and concerns themselves primarily with Israel.

    The Middle Eastern community lives within close proximity of each other and maintains strong ties to ancestral homelands at the expense of American culture.

    The asian community assimilates the most and embraces all opportunities, meanwhile, the black community on a whole fails to integrate.

    To suggest that Americans are ready to work together is simply not true.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  19. cassie

    unfortunatly the divide IS too great bc americans have always been divided..our conflicting ideas have been passed down for generations and i dont think we can change how we are individually taught nor wat our social norms required...

    May 18, 2009 at 11:36 pm |
  20. Robert Hill

    President Obama seems to have more in common with Lincoln then even he would like. He has brought his friends and enemies together in the White House or has tried to, but that maybe the easy part because the bigger picture is the divide in the country itself. After the civil war Lincoln knew he would have to reunite the country if we were to grow into the country we are today. However the things that divded us were obvious. Today the list seems endless and not all of them are the topics of most of our conversations. Health care,education,energy,abortion,race relation and foreign policies to name a few. As Americans should stand with the president and not allow the politicians to stop us from working together.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  21. kemal memisovski

    I oppose gays in the military and gays period Come on America!

    May 18, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  22. Udayana

    Anderson, I am sure you are aware of Classical Conditioning, they would keep on reinforcing those aspects that antagonize the masses, keeping them constantly at war amongst themselves.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  23. Rachel

    The politicians are going to be forced to come together on some things. People are tired of the direction this country has taken. Obama has his hands in so many diffrent things, people know that he is trying to do his best that is why we are still backing him up.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  24. ray

    Anderson. I myself am gay. And the more i read the news on how gays are treated in this nation. It makes me sick yet at the same time makes me dislike how the far right forces there views on everyone in our nation. Gays in america are the new blacks as we say. Who know's maybe they "meaning the far right" and there one minded fallowers will round us up and place us in death camps one day in the near future if they have there way we gays would have any no rights. But the right to death. Ray form arizona.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  25. Rachel

    I think we're making progress, but as a country we don't value collaboration enough. We have to be "Right" all the time and as a result someone else has to be wrong.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  26. RoseParvin

    Our divide has always been there & yet dialogue can bring it to surface & the new self & societal knowledge can take it to the progressive direction we need the change toward! The process of healing divided nation & world has been going on for 12 years & we must have reform & transparency of all agencies & organizations and their agreement to responsible freedom not at the cost of others for the change to happen positively toward Power Balance & Unity & a Global Culture of Being human & standards & Universal Laws of Human Rights that will automatically bring security for the rights of individuals as well as nations to have environments of progression not piracy & defemation & blocks of the voices that must be heard at the time they are having something to say instead of spreading their voice by giving access and propaganda to others to delude the truth!

    May 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  27. Jim Warren

    The "divide" well-may be created much more by the special interests who profit from it, than from any real divide between most Americans. "Divide and conquer" IS a well-known technique for defeating "enemies".

    May 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  28. jim smoots - tulsa ok

    a very good question, especially since politicians seem to represent the worst of us most of the time. Lack of the big picture has taken over both sides of the aisle for 20 yrs at least. Just look at what is going on now, the republicans are focused on making Pelosi look bad while they sneak a bill thru to stop climate change prevention. Dems do much the same. Extremists, of all stripes but especially religious, rule over us and usually don't do the things that most of the people want (i.e. medical marijuana). In the past it was simply that they were more vocal and richer but with all the new ways to get our voices out the average joes and jills are finally starting to have a voice and they hate it.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  29. Fran Frank

    I'm proud that I am a "liberal"'; which means that I can accept other's point of view on a wide range of topics. What really amazes me about "conservatives" is that everyone must agree with them. For example I want women to have the right to choose – I'm not forcing abortion on anyone or even recommending it. I am merely allowing other's to make up their own mind. Do conservatives think they are more intelligent than I am? If we can bridge this gap of us vs. them we can close the divide. If we demand others to follow roads of no choice the divide will widen.
    We should all be liberal enough to allow a wide variety of life options and respect the choices of all including conservative points of view.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  30. Nancy

    Is is true HR 1388 was passed as seen on ticker tape at the bottom of tv screen. Obama funded $20M in taxpayer dollars to immigrate Hamas refugees here to the US. This news did not make headline news. "Presidential determination" was signed 1/27/09 and appeared in the Federal Register on 2/4/09. Was there any dialogue on this major issue that has taken place?

    The divide is getting too great...we're robbing US citizens to pay for too many international unrelated problems.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  31. Vicky S

    I live in a city ravished by illegal immigration, plummeting housing values, (67.2% of people are underwater in their mortgages), unemployment is 10%+, education is undervalued, and the list goes on. These are all national problems as well.

    No one steps up to the plate to address the real issues. The people at the top don't know what's going on at the ground level. It's horrible to see a flag flying from another country in your neighborhood, without an American flag. It's horrible to not be considered for a job because you don't speak a foreign language. These are county, city and school district jobs that should be available for US citizens that speak English. It's deeply saddening to drive through your own neighborhood and see all the signs in a foreign language from major companies. I feel like I live in another country. Lets not even begin to talk about the over stressed school system, hospitals and the crime associated with illegal immigration.

    No one cares.

    I hope the US will still be around in 5 years.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  32. Pam

    If the Politicians do not allow it to happen, which is quite possible, then they are very selfish, self righteous and short sighted. ...and they are cutting off their own noses to spite their faces.
    Without coming together, without respect for one another, without dialogue and finding the commonalities of our dignity and our humanity, we will simply tear each other apart and no one will win, no problems will be solved, everything will continue its decent. A decent, by the way, that is caused by division, judgment, fear, hatred, and unabashed corruption and greed.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  33. Scott Stodden

    I dont believe all the politicans will allow it to happen. There is a great divide between Republicans & Democrats, The Republicans are the party that says no to everything, they dont want to work with Democrats. The Democrats are the party that trying to whats right for the American people, until the Republicans work together nothing will be done until Republicans can work together.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:54 pm |