I had a crazy idea a few days ago: Hoist a Republican and a Democrat over a large sack, with holes cut into the bottom for two sets of legs, and set them down into the sack. The Republican will face Right; the Democrat Left. Have them take a step forward. I reckon they won't get far, trapped inside the sack. If they continue to step forward, one or both will fall down. Frustration will mount, and they will pull so hard against each other, they will start scuffling, as each tries--short of committing violence--to pull the other in his direction.
But if you lift the sack off of them, they will stand there clueless and naked, wondering what to do next, because they do not pull the sack with a sense of direction, only against each other. Thanks to partisanship and poor leadership, they lack philosophical and constitutional orientation. The little sense of orientation they have is directed against each other, which is kinda dumb, if we are one nation.
Needless to say, the parties need to teach the voters orientation, not partisanship. The voters will realize that the other party will not take the country the same direction they want to go. Maybe then, they will leave each other alone and do what they have needed to do for some time--divide the country! I realize that this is not in the best interest of the political parties, which are geared for competition and conquest, toward the accrual of political power, rather than the advancement of a political philosophy. Partisanship feeds political parties, not the best interests of the people or the nation. Also, teaching orientation to voters does not fill party coffers. In addition, partisanship makes politics entertaining and exciting. It turns politics into a contact-sport.
TV coverage of congressional and presidential elections reminds me of TV coverage of the Olympics or the Super Bowl. The promoters of these events could just as easily run a political convention. They sell tickets, coach and activate a fan-base, cultivate an "us-against-them" sort of rivalry, and win big! But in politics, winning big means that the national unity loses. Politics and athletics have a different sort of intentionality.
Political parties, political rallies, and conventions, they work to promote politics. If we want unity, if we want a continuous sense of national intentionality, we will need to look elsewhere. We will need leadership that does not answer to the parties or take its talking-points from the parties.
The process of dividing the country should remind people of a cell dividing. In order to grow, it has to divide. Only primitive forms of life remain one-celled.