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U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw exposed what he thinks is really behind the partisan divide in the nation over reopening efforts in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The Texas Republican addressed the “psychology and morality” of the politics behind why Americans are so polarized over the country getting back to a sort of normal following the ravages of the pandemic in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.
“The debate over reopening the economy has a peculiar characteristic: It breaks down almost entirely along political lines,” Crenshaw began the piece titled, “Why Does Reopening Polarize Us?”
“Liberals emphasize the dangers of an open society, shaming those who want to go back to work. Conservatives argue the opposite. Red states are steadily reopening, while most blue states lag,” he wrote. “House Democrats believe it isn’t safe for lawmakers to go back to work, while the Republican-controlled Senate is back in session.”
The former United States Navy SEAL gave a few reasons why the division exists, noting that, generally, liberals will oppose anything that President Donald Trump is in favor of. He also pointed to geographic factors as urban and rural differences can contribute to disagreements.
Crenshaw added that working class Americans have been hit hard by the pandemic as businesses have closed and jobs have been lost. In contrast, many liberals with college degrees have been able to continue working from home and not be as devastated economically.
“Finally, the far left is treating the lockdowns and the consequent economic devastation as an opportunity to ‘restructure’ America into a socialist utopia,” the lawmaker wrote. “So they’re in no rush.”
Crenshaw dove deeper, however, into the great divide over efforts to reopen the country, as protests have been launched across states against lockdown orders and supporters of stay-at-home restrictions have been equally vocal.
“These factors contribute to the partisan divide, but I believe a complete account would take us deeper, into the realm of psychology and morality. Liberal and conservative brain function has been shown to differ considerably during exercises in risk-taking,” he wrote.
The freshman congressman noted that, according to research, socially conservative views “are driven, at least in part, by people’s need to feel safe and secure.”
“While liberals present themselves as more open to experience and change, conservatives seem more likely to protect that which we know. This divide appears to apply to multiculturalism, traditional institutions and financial risk, but not all unknown risks,” he explained, adding that conservatives in today’s society are the ones who are “ready to confront risk head-on.”
“That’s consistent with my experience in the military, where the overwhelming majority of special operators identify as conservatives,” he wrote, adding that recent data showed “high-risk civilian occupations tend to be filled by those who lean right.”
“If conservatives show more brain activity when processing fear, they also seem better at overcoming it,” Crenshaw noted.
“Liberals are also more comfortable with a government that regulates more behavior and provides more services. They often say, ‘You can’t be free if you don’t have service X, Y and Z.’ Such statements sound nonsensical to conservative ears,” he wrote.
“The conservative emphasis on personal responsibility leaves less room for the government micromanagement we’re witnessing now,” the congressman contended.
The nation needs to reopen “in a smart and deliberate fashion,” Crenshaw urged, adding that conservatives are ready to take the risks to accomplish that goal and the left should not be condemning them for what is natural to their mindset.
Twitter users praised the congressman for his thoughts and many offered up their own theories for the partisan division.
My latest oped in @WSJ – Why do Democrats want to keep us shutdown and Republicans want us free to reopen? The answer is part politics, part psychology. https://t.co/YDn5kRgf0z
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) May 19, 2020
Good piece Dan. 👍🏼
I’m sure most on the left don’t want to hear it though. Because you wrote it.
— Brick 🇺🇸 (@React628) May 19, 2020
@DanCrenshawTX masterful job! Thanks for the wisdom and fortitude to share it with the sure to come complete, mindless meltdown from the Left. P. S. Thank you for your service. #OpenAmericaNOW #ReopenAmericaNow pic.twitter.com/1iHvYXwaQr
— Bob S 🏈🥍🇺🇸 (@CenterD65) May 19, 2020
The Dems want to accomplish two things. One is to damage Trump’s election chances by damaging the economy. Second is to get people to depend more and more on gov for their livelihood. This is the first step toward socialism and has been the socialist strategy for a long time.
— Howard Marsh (@HowardMarsh12) May 19, 2020
Great job! Appreciated the read!
— Bob S 🏈🥍🇺🇸 (@CenterD65) May 19, 2020
Great piece that everyone on BOTH sides should read. Thank you @RepDanCrenshaw
— SGM 🇺🇸 (@saraG_Mahoney) May 19, 2020
This was well put, well thought out and researched. It does not blame. It simply helps explain the divide and I hope gives understanding of one side to the other.
— Craig Horn (@WildOrca56) May 19, 2020
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