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"Uniter" - Does it really mean anything? (1 Viewer)

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Something I've been thinking of. 

"Uniter" is a word everyone loves to use. We've seen it a good bit with Pete Buttigieg recently.

But I'm wondering what it really means in a practical sense. It seems like there isn't any real uniting going on.

Isn't it more uniting as long as you're with me? If you're not with me, then we're divided. 

It feels like at best, it means "rally the base". 

And I don't mean this as a criticism of Buttigieg. It just feels like one of those words we use that doesn't mean anything.

Or am I missing it? 

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
Almost every presidential campaign pushes this theme, even Trump, but in reality we haven't seen a swweping vote behind a president since Reagan. Obama 2008 was close I guess, but still it was regionally and culturally divided.

It may be overrated. I've always been more of an E Pluribus Unum guy myself. Being One doesn't mean also not being Many.

 

jonessed

Footballguy
Isn’t a “uniter” really just someone that can bring diverse opinions to the table and reach a compromise?  Those people certainly exist.  Whether or not one can exist as a current president is debatable though.  We won’t know what one looks like until we see it.

 

Stealthycat

Footballguy
I doubt we'll ever see anyone unite this nation again ...........

too much hate, too much getting even for past deeds done .... too much division and fracturing and too much of a move towards radical polars on both sites

If ... a 3rd party candidate could come forward, and bridge all the conservative liberals and all the liberal conservatives .... there would be hope in at least the Presidency having a unified, united person ..... but I doubt the GOP and DNC will ever allow that

 

NCCommish

Footballguy
This idea that suddenly Mitch " my job is to make Obama a one term president" McConnell is suddenly going to say my bad let's all hold hands is a fantasy. And he is just the poster boy for it. There is no dealing with people that refuse to accept reality or deal in fact based legislation. The GOP as of now isn't interested in that and until they are there is no uniting.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
This idea that suddenly Mitch " my job is to make Obama a one term president" McConnell is suddenly going to say my bad let's all hold hands is a fantasy. And he is just the poster boy for it. There is no dealing with people that refuse to accept reality or deal in fact based legislation. The GOP as of now isn't interested in that and until they are there is no uniting.
So when people say "Buttigieg is a Uniter", do you think it means anything?

 

NCCommish

Footballguy
So when people say "Buttigieg is a Uniter", do you think it means anything?
Not a thing really. And the last person I was sold as a uniter tried to give away Social Security and other social safety net programs to the Republicans. No thanks on the uniters.

 

jonessed

Footballguy
So when people say "Buttigieg is a Uniter", do you think it means anything?
It’s perfectly legitimate to think someone could be a Uniter.  It’s a leap of faith, but there’s always a degree of that.

I’m confident no one really knows though.

Not that you asked me.  I suppose I thought I would share.

 
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zftcg

Footballguy
If ... a 3rd party candidate could come forward, and bridge all the conservative liberals and all the liberal conservatives .... there would be hope in at least the Presidency having a unified, united person ..... but I doubt the GOP and DNC will ever allow that
This actually happened in France. And while it is true that Macron won the runoff with a large percentage of the vote, I'm not sure France has been all that unified in the past two years.

I think the real myth is that a politician can unify a populace that isn't united. And particularly when it comes to presidential politics, everything is so zero sum that it's highly unlikely we'll ever feel all that united. Maybe when the aliens invade and Pres. Bill Pullman has to rally us to fight them off.

 

Sabertooth

Footballguy
So when people say "Buttigieg is a Uniter", do you think it means anything?
Nope.   It might on the blue side, but the red side isn't going to play ball with any Democrat President.  And vice versa.  That ship sailed with Merrick Garland.  

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
So when people say "Buttigieg is a Uniter", do you think it means anything?
It could mean something if Buttigieg's message was to unite the country in a return to certain basic values. That was essentially the theme of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign (contrasting the moral failings of the Clinton administration) as well as Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign (contrasting the corruption of the Nixon administration, as enabled by Ford).

But I'm not sure if Buttigieg is attempting to craft that kind of message.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
In American history, the only time a President has been able to unite the nation is when we have been attacked:

Lincoln after Fort Sumter (the north only)

FDR after Pearl Harbor

LBJ following the assassination of John F. Kennedy

George W. Bush after 9/11.

It usually doesn't last very long.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
It’s perfectly legitimate to think someone could be a Uniter.  It’s a leap of faith, but there’s always a degree of that.

I’m confident no one really knows though.

Not that you asked me.  I suppose I thought I would share.
Unfortunately, I think being a uniter is likely a pipe dream. I think the feelings like NCC has are just too common among people on both sides. It's a bummer, but I think the only real hope one candidate can have is to rally their base. Which ironically is more uniting their "tribe" to be solidified in supporting division with the other tribe. 

With that said, I hope we stop using the word "uniter" as it's just hollow. 

 
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jonessed

Footballguy
Unfortunately, I think being a uniter is likely a pipe dream. I think the feelings like NCC has are just too common among people on both sides. It's a bummer, but I think the only real hope one candidate can have is to rally their base. Which ironically is more uniting their "tribe" to be solidified in supporting division with the other tribe. 

With that said, I hope we stop using the word "uniter" as it's just hollow. 
This just won’t do.  I’m supposed to be the cynic and your supposed to be the optimist.

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
It’s perfectly legitimate to think someone could be a Uniter.  It’s a leap of faith, but there’s always a degree of that.

I’m confident no one really knows though.

Not that you asked me.  I suppose I thought I would share.
Unfortunately, I think being a uniter is likely a pipe dream. I think the feelings like NCC has are just too common among people on both sides. It's a bummer, but I think the only real hope one candidate can have is to rally their base. Which ironically is more uniting their "tribe" to be solidified in supporting division with the other tribe. 

With that said, I hope we stop using the word "uniter" as it's just hollow. 
What is it about Buttigieg that makes you think he might be just rallying his base?

 

knowledge dropper

Footballguy
A “uniter” has zero chance of winning the primaries.  Both bases are out for the blood of the other party.  

 
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Ilov80s

Footballguy
I doubt we'll ever see anyone unite this nation again ...........

too much hate, too much getting even for past deeds done .... too much division and fracturing and too much of a move towards radical polars on both sites
That’s pretty extreme considering how long the country likely lasts and how it was only 30ish years ago that Reagan was so well liked. Sadly, the quickest path to unification would be a united enemy. As long as it doesn’t get too bad, the inner conflict is somewhat a sign of our comfort internationally right now. We can afford to argue amongst ourselves right now.  I still think once Trump is gone we would come together quickly if need be.

 

knowledge dropper

Footballguy
That’s pretty extreme considering how long the country likely lasts and how it was only 30ish years ago that Reagan was so well liked. Sadly, the quickest path to unification would be a united enemy. As long as it doesn’t get too bad, the inner conflict is somewhat a sign of our comfort internationally right now. We can afford to argue amongst ourselves right now.  I still think once Trump is gone we would come together quickly if need be.
Wasn’t that the premise of The Watchmen?

 

adonis

Footballguy
With that said, I hope we stop using the word "uniter" as it's just hollow. 
I don't think we should stop using the word, but maybe we could reset our expectations around what it means.

To me, it means that with every action, every public comment, every speech, a "uniter" is looking for ways to bring us together, to show us as part of the same team.  A "uniter" uses language, stories, scenarios that highlight our common similarities rather than a "divider" who is looking for ways to drive wedges in society, looking for scapegoats to turn their base against.

You can "unite" your base both ways.  You see it all the time in religion, and in politics.  You can unite as a group around who you are commonly against, our you can unite as a group around your common "identity".  Most times, politicians do both, but borrow more heavily from one side or another as their main political tool.

A "Uniter" in politics is someone who seeks to bring us together as a nation around our common identity as "americans".  A "divider" is someone who seeks to unite their base around all the people they are against.

For this reason, the term still has meaning to me.  But if you think it means that a certain outcome is guaranteed, then that's just not using the word as I think it's intended.

In some ways, it may be like a guy who owns a football forum calling everyone to a higher standard of "Being excellent to one another" while knowing all the time that the goal will never be met.  But still, he may choose to model that behavior, to call it out and request it to show up more in others, in the hope that the arc of behavior on the forum bends in an "excellent" direction.

 
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Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
What is it about Buttigieg that makes you think he might be just rallying his base?
I'm not saying Buttigieg is doing this. I'm saying I don't think there's much hope for anyone being a "uniter".

I think the best one can hope for is for the candidate to rally his base and call that "uniting". 

There's just too much hate on both sides. 

We see it here. NCC is as nice a guy as you can find, and he said it above, he's got zero interest in working with the other side. I think that's pretty indicative these days of both sides. 

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
A "Uniter" in politics is someone who seeks to bring us together as a nation around our common identity as "americans".  A "divider" is someone who seeks to unite their base around all the people they are against.




2
Unfortunately, using your definition (which I agree with), a divider is how it works these days. 

Buttigieg is saying the right things. But that means saying very divisive things. Which is what his side and supporters need to hear. If he wins, he'll do it by uniting his base against all the Republicans they're against. 

Which I don't see any other way it can be. The Republican candidate will do the same thing.

That's where I was going with the "uniter" being largely meaningless. 

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Unfortunately, using your definition (which I agree with), a divider is how it works these days. 

Buttigieg is saying the right things. But that means saying very divisive things. Which is what his side and supporters need to hear. If he wins, he'll do it by uniting his base against all the Republicans they're against. 

Which I don't see any other way it can be. The Republican candidate will do the same thing.

That's where I was going with the "uniter" being largely meaningless. 
In all seriousness, I think you're being a bit of a pessimist here (which surprises me, given your normally "lets work together" sense of optimism.

We have a very divisive President right now, a guy who would rather fight the other side than try to work with them.  I don't think anybody, including President Trump's supporters, would dispute that. But President Trump's personality is an anomaly in American politics; most Presidents and important statesmen in our history have not been nearly that divisive. I believe that when President Trump is finally gone, both Democrats and Republicans will be more amenable to working together than they currently are.

 

Max Power

Footballguy
I've said before, there was a lot of hope with Obama. The country didnt unite as I thought it would under him. I didnt sour on the guy until the BLM movement. In retrospect it's nothing to some of the stuff Trump has said. 

We wont ever unite again. It's a sad state.

 

adonis

Footballguy
Unfortunately, using your definition (which I agree with), a divider is how it works these days. 

Buttigieg is saying the right things. But that means saying very divisive things. Which is what his side and supporters need to hear. If he wins, he'll do it by uniting his base against all the Republicans they're against. 

Which I don't see any other way it can be. The Republican candidate will do the same thing.

That's where I was going with the "uniter" being largely meaningless. 
I'm not sure being a divider is "how it works these days".  It's certainly one way to make it work.  It's easy.

And I disagree, if I understand you correctly, with your second set of sentences.  in my opinion, if he wins he'll be doing it by getting people to buy into HIS vision of where America needs to go, not by uniting his base against a republican vision.

This seems to be a core disagreement.  Can you get people on board with your vision, without being a divider?

 
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Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
I'm not sure being a divider is "how it works these days".  It's certainly one way to make it work.  It's easy.

And I disagree, if I understand you correctly, with your second set of sentences.  in my opinion, if he wins he'll be doing it by getting people to buy into HIS vision of where America needs to go, not by uniting his base against a republican vision.

This seems to be a core disagreement.  Can you get people on board with your vision, without being a divider?
That's cool. We can disagree there. I do think that's how it works.

I think it has to be a divider overall. It's two opposing sides. I don't see any way around it. He's saying the right things for his side with "I think the government’s been in some kind of crisis ever since this president arrived”. But if you're in the 45% that approve of the current president, I'm not sure that's anything but divisive. That's just the reality of two opposing sides. 

 
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NCCommish

Footballguy
In all seriousness, I think you're being a bit of a pessimist here (which surprises me, given your normally "lets work together" sense of optimism.

We have a very divisive President right now, a guy who would rather fight the other side than try to work with them.  I don't think anybody, including President Trump's supporters, would dispute that. But President Trump's personality is an anomaly in American politics; most Presidents and important statesmen in our history have not been nearly that divisive. I believe that when President Trump is finally gone, both Democrats and Republicans will be more amenable to working together than they currently are.
You're living in a fantasy world. They weren't more amenable before Trump. Why is Mitch going to suddenly be all kumbaya? What's going to change? There will be a new Democratic president it's Mitch's job to make a one termer. The people that stole a Supreme Court seat aren't going to suddenly want to hold hands and make nice. 

 

timschochet

Footballguy
You're living in a fantasy world. They weren't more amenable before Trump. Why is Mitch going to suddenly be all kumbaya? What's going to change? There will be a new Democratic president it's Mitch's job to make a one termer. The people that stole a Supreme Court seat aren't going to suddenly want to hold hands and make nice. 
Mitch is a dinosaur. So are the coal barons who support him. 

Young Republicans are going to be more fiscally conservative than Young Democrats but otherwise they have more in common than the old folks do. They have gay friends, they believe in a woman’s right to choose, they believe in science and they care about climate change. And like you they don’t trust the establishment or Wall Street. You’ll be able to work with them fine (I might not though.) 

 

IvanKaramazov

Footballguy
In all seriousness, I think you're being a bit of a pessimist here (which surprises me, given your normally "lets work together" sense of optimism.

We have a very divisive President right now, a guy who would rather fight the other side than try to work with them.  I don't think anybody, including President Trump's supporters, would dispute that. But President Trump's personality is an anomaly in American politics; most Presidents and important statesmen in our history have not been nearly that divisive. I believe that when President Trump is finally gone, both Democrats and Republicans will be more amenable to working together than they currently are.
I think that both W and Obama made genuine efforts to be "uniters," and both of them got absolutely nothing for it.  You're obviously right that Trump is an outlier, but we're living in an age where people are going to find a reason to hate (literally) whoever leads the other tribe.

 

IvanKaramazov

Footballguy
Do You think Obama's comments on BLM brought us together?
I think Obama legitimately tried to be bipartisan and engage with Republicans.

Edit: Just to skip ahead a step or two, yes I know that Obmacare got rammed through on a party line vote using questionable procedural methods, but it was originally a conservative/libertarian plan for overhauling the health insurance industry.

 
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NCCommish

Footballguy
Mitch is a dinosaur. So are the coal barons who support him. 

Young Republicans are going to be more fiscally conservative than Young Democrats but otherwise they have more in common than the old folks do. They have gay friends, they believe in a woman’s right to choose, they believe in science and they care about climate change. And like you they don’t trust the establishment or Wall Street. You’ll be able to work with them fine (I might not though.) 
Yeah well my bet is unless a Democrat unseats him McConnell will be right back in the Senate. Maybe as minority leader with any luck but still there.

 

Max Power

Footballguy
I think Obama legitimately tried to be bipartisan and engage with Republicans.

Edit: Just to skip ahead a step or two, yes I know that Obmacare got rammed through on a party line vote using questionable procedural methods, but it was originally a conservative/libertarian plan for overhauling the health insurance industry.
Not the path I was going.  Blue Lives Matter became a thing because Obama made general comments based on "the color of their Skin".    That doesn't unit ####

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
I thought Obama was almost always very thoughtful and even when I disagreed with him, I thought he presented his ideas in an inclusive manner. I never got the issue with Obama and BLM but maybe I didn’t read the right quotes? 

 

Max Power

Footballguy
July 7, 2016

After the killings of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot several times at close range while held down on the ground by two white Baton Rouge, La., police officers, and Philando Castile, a black man who was fatally shot by a Latino police officer in Minnesota after being pulled over in his car in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., Obama again addressed the nation.

"What I can say is that all of us as Americans should be troubled by the news. These are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.…

African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites. African American defendants are 75% more likely to be charged with offenses carrying mandatory minimums. They receive sentences that are almost 10% longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crime.

So if you add it all up, the African American and Hispanic population, who make up only 30% of the general population, make up more than half of the incarcerated population. Now, these are facts.

And when incidents like this occur, there's a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same. And that hurts. And that should trouble all of us."

July 12, 2016

After the deaths of five Dallas police officers who were ambushed by black assailant Micah Xavier Johnson during a Black Lives Matter rally, Obama called on police to acknowledge institutional racial bias but also condemned the officers' slayings as an act of "racial hatred." During a standoff, police killed Johnson using an explosive delivered on a remote-controlled device.

"I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we've come against impossible odds."
Obama called out police bias, and police were attacked a week later and we say it is "hard to untangle". 

 

NCCommish

Footballguy
Obama called out police bias, and police were attacked a week later and we say it is "hard to untangle". 
Its highly unlikely it had anything to do with Obama. More likely he was radicalized online given who he followed. Add that to untreated PTSD, hallucinations, depression and anxiety issues.  Not so cut and dry.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
Isn't it more uniting as long as you're with me? If you're not with me, then we're divided. 

It feels like at best, it means "rally the base". 
I think it's the exact opposite of that.

A divider rallies his own base while disparaging the other side as the enemy.

A uniter is the converse of a divider. A uniter is someone who tries to understand where the other side is coming from and, instead of vilifying them as the enemy, welcomes their input and tries to address their concerns as if this whole nation is really supposed to be on the same side, working together.

A uniter puts country over party.

 
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Max Power

Footballguy
Its highly unlikely it had anything to do with Obama. More likely he was radicalized online given who he followed. Add that to untreated PTSD, hallucinations, depression and anxiety issues.  Not so cut and dry.
We live in a "cut and dry" society.  White Nationals are a product of Trump the same way black nationals are a product of Obama. 

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Max Power said:
We live in a "cut and dry" society.  White Nationals are a product of Trump the same way black nationals are a product of Obama. 
You mean nationalists? 

The only black nationalists I can think of are the Nation of Islam. They are certainly not a product of Obama, whatever that means. I also don’t think white nationalists, who have been around for decades, are a product of Trump. If anything it’s the other way around. 

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Maurile Tremblay said:
I think it's the exact opposite of that.

A divider rallies his own base while disparaging the other side as the enemy.

A uniter is the converse of a divider. A uniter is someone who tries to understand where the other side is coming from and, instead of vilifying them as the enemy, welcomes their input and tries to address their concerns as if this whole nation is really supposed to be on the same side, working together.

A uniter puts country over party.
Thanks. Not sure we disagree there.

What are you saying is the opposite of what?

What you're saying about a uniter is fantastic. That's how I'd love to see it work. I'm saying I don't know that's very likely to happen. I don't think when Buttigieg says "the government's been in crisis since this president arrived" that's doing a lot to bring the other side over. I think it's drawing the divide. Which is likely the way to win. 

But I don't disagree it would be awesome to see a real uniting. 

 
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Sinn Fein

Footballguy
I used the term "uniter" which I suppose gave rise to this thread.  

I do think Buttigieg is a "Uniter".  But, its fair to define what I think that means.

First, a uniter is someone who actively seeks the input from multiple points of view.  You can't unite a group if you don't consider all of their views. 

Second, a uniter is not going to be able to unite everyone.  I would hazard a guess that maybe as many as 15% of the people on either side of an issue, are never going to cede their position on the fringe.  So, when we are talking about uniting - its that middle 70% that is what I am talking about.

Third, "uniting" does not (necessarily) mean meeting in the middle.  It could mean that - but people can unite on either side.  So, if someone wants to unite the country on one side of a debate, they have to convince everyone that is the best place to be - and you do that by speaking to the people on the other side of the issue in language and terms that they understand, and in validating their legitimate concerns.  And you move people - not by browbeating them, but by encouraging them to see an alternative point of view.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
I used the term "uniter" which I suppose gave rise to this thread.  

I do think Buttigieg is a "Uniter".  But, its fair to define what I think that means.

First, a uniter is someone who actively seeks the input from multiple points of view.  You can't unite a group if you don't consider all of their views. 

Second, a uniter is not going to be able to unite everyone.  I would hazard a guess that maybe as many as 15% of the people on either side of an issue, are never going to cede their position on the fringe.  So, when we are talking about uniting - its that middle 70% that is what I am talking about.

Third, "uniting" does not (necessarily) mean meeting in the middle.  It could mean that - but people can unite on either side.  So, if someone wants to unite the country on one side of a debate, they have to convince everyone that is the best place to be - and you do that by speaking to the people on the other side of the issue in language and terms that they understand, and in validating their legitimate concerns.  And you move people - not by browbeating them, but by encouraging them to see an alternative point of view.
I think these are all valid points, as is Da Guru’s cynical response that it means “vote for me.” 

But I also think there’s an essential element here that none of you have mentioned and that’s this: a uniter makes you feel good to vote for him. You’re not doing it out of a sense of bitterness against the other side but out of a sense of satisfaction that you’re trying to help make things better. 

 

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