It’s been a long slide down to this standoff between the two political parties. Time was when they actually worked together, but no more. It is not because people actively wish conflict; they really need to have common ground but the extremes of position are intractable.
On the Left is humanism, a widely held Worldview which starts and ends with the natural or materialistic world. Man is primarily an animal; he is born, lives and dies within the confines of this world, dominated by his physical needs and desires. God, if there is one at all, is far, far away and disinterested or un-involved.
Mankind is perceived to start out as a blank sheet on which culture writes and creates the citizen. Mankind is not good or bad, just perfectible by a healthy culture. Laws and the government must be constructed to manage the culture so that no one is hurt or corrupted. There is no real moral law which defines right and wrong but there is the concept of ethics, which requires individuals to live together in as much harmony as possible so that others are not damaged by the choices others make.
Since there is no afterlife (or possibly the idea that everyone goes to an undefined heaven, whatever that is) there is no God to whom we are accountable. We are under this system accountable only to each other. In order to manage and maintain such as society almost everything is done by a strong government and a group of bureaucrats or elites who control people, projects, the media and finances.
This rigidity results in determinism, because it is a closed system. There are many nations today who practice this; some are quite successful at it, but it does not allow for much movement forward; it promotes a status quo. One such nation is Norway which is socialist, requiring one language (which is a good idea), and high taxes. Norway is able to adhere to this political philosophy because it is largely a homogeneous society. Nations with diverse populations, the United States being the most diverse of all, cannot maintain a one size for all administration.
On the opposite side are the conservatives who believe, as did the authors of the US Constitution, that man is flawed, that He has passions and issues that must be controlled by accountability to not just God but also to one’s fellow man. Conservatives do not accept either the perfectibility of man or his complete depravity; mankind can move forward, both as individuals and as nations if it adheres to an agreed-upon moral law and a governing document, in our case the US Constitution.
Religious life is free largely because Man is perceived as a spiritual being; when the body dies there is another world; we are permanent members of eternity. Out of control passions cannot be allowed to flourish because that will eventually lead to the deterioration of the individual and the society or family around him. Individuals must assume responsibility for their own actions, and groups assume responsibility for the actions of their government as well.
You cannot find more opposite positions and they can’t come together. For example, a Liberal believes that he or she can, because it is legal, kill a child in the womb and have someone else pay for it through taxes; the Conservative believes that an individual’s actions are handled by that individual and no person should be required to pay for the murder of another person’s child.
We use to call these two groups Democrats and Republicans, terms we can’t use anymore because definitions are fluid and people can change sides so quickly. In addition, large groups of voters are uninformed about a host of issues relying instead on simple sentences to define their position while forgetting that all important issues are complex.
In all this we find the voter does not have a clue what he/she is ding. Like the girl who was asked her opinion on Benghazi? Who is he, she wanted to know? When a great body of voters are ignorant the entire process is damaged.
Today we have stalemate at the federal level. The conservatives have not conserved anything they value for 50 years other than their on sinecure while progressives have changed large swathes of social law and practice without zero progress in any area.
The tension between Right and Left is supposed to work, but only on the condition that the country is more important than party. It reminds me of the first World War when opposing armies hid behind trenches to spare themselves and lobbed armaments at the opposing trenches. They called it the Great War but in the end it was not great at all. And neither is this one.