Frank Carroll

Carroll

Abraham Lincoln’s mystic chords that bind us have ever been fragile. They broke asunder in 1860 but have bound us together since.

As Pew Research notes in their end of year findings about 2017, we’re back in the political and cultural badlands. The partisan divide now overwhelms any other considerations like ethnicity. The gap in average partisan differences has grown from 15 to 36 points in just two decades and far exceeds the gap across any other demographic.

Half the world still likes us, including our allies, in spite of our politics.

Only three in ten Americans own guns and four in ten live in a household where someone owns a gun. Of gun owners, 74 percent say owning a gun is essential to their personal sense of freedom. More than half of all American households do not own guns and those people think guns are the problem with widespread violence.

Is the news media the watchdog of democracy or the problem? About 89 percent of Democrats think the media is the watchdog. Over 42 percent of Republicans think the media is the problem. In 2016, three quarters of all of us thought the media were the watchdogs.

With a 32 percent growth rate in the overall world population, it’s no wonder the place seems more crowded than ever — except Wyoming, which is losing population. It’s a good time to go buy a house in East Egypt, Wyoming — or not.

Muslims are the fastest growing religious group worldwide due to a younger population and high fertility rates.

People who now identify as Hispanic in the U.S. lose half of that identity by the fourth generation. If you just got here from Honduras, you’re Hispanic. If you’ve been here for 100 years, you have a 50 percent chance of having lost that connection and fully adopted our creed and culture; you know, the one we wrote down a couple of hundred years ago.

Men and women have very different views about the differences between them, aside from biological factors. Women believe society and culture are the main reasons for the differences in pay and other matters, while men chalk it all up to biological differences. This goes for everything from success at work to parenting techniques to hobbies and physical abilities.

Many people expect their own jobs will be automated in their lifetimes but most don’t see their own jobs at risk. This was true a couple of decades ago in the timber industry. Sawmills became automated and no longer needed dozens of workers to sort lumber. The result was those same workers found new ways to make new products from sawmill waste products and increased profits and efficiency. Automation means people can find or invent more meaningful work.

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Colleges and universities are taking a big PR hit from conservatives, who fund lots of schools. More than six in ten Republicans have a negative view of higher learning compared to three in ten Democrats. College professors fare similarly.

Immigrants will play the primary role in the growth of the American working-age population in coming decades. The gain is from arriving immigrants, and it’s a good thing for the economy. Without those immigrants, the working-age population would fall. Start brushing up on Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world.

Over 42 percent of Americans don’t have a spouse or partner today, especially among the unemployed. Kids have to come from somewhere.

Eighty percent of us think we know how hard police work is; 80 percent of police officers don’t think so.

And, surprise, we are totally divided on climate change.

Frank Carroll is a freelance writer and columnist. He can be reached by emailing frankcarrollpfm@gmail.com or visiting blackhillsforestpros.com.

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