April 13th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Calif. Gov. Brown: U.S. most divided since Civil War. Is he right?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Yesterday marked 150 years since the start of the U.S. Civil War. It was the bloodiest war in U.S. history - a war that divided our nation physically and ideologically and led to 600,000 deaths.

To mark the occasion, President Obama said, "We remember the great cost of the unity and liberty we now enjoy, causes for which so many have laid down their lives."

Liberty, yes. But unity? Not so much.

He's got a front row seat to a circus of a Congress that took six months to come up with a 2011 budget. And they still can't agree on any meaningful cuts going forward. We're a long way from unity.

In an interview in Los Angeles this week, California Governor Jerry Brown said this country is more divided now than at any time since the Civil War. Brown is facing a fierce budget battle with California Republican lawmakers. He said the difficulty he's having working with Republicans in California on the state level mirrors what's going on in Washington.

He's right.

Also look at Wisconsin, Ohio and other places where fundamental divisions are boiling over like we haven't seen maybe since Vietnam.

By the way, Brown has to close a deficit that was as high as $26.6 billion. With a hole like that, good luck on that unity thing.

Here’s my question to you: California Gov. Jerry Brown says the country is the most divided since the Civil War. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dave in Arizona:
Yes, our leaders do nothing but spread hate and vitriol at every turn, each trying to blame another segment of the population for the country's problems. Our nation has garnered a sports team mentality. We are a group of different pockets of beliefs and each hates the others' thinking.

Carol in Northampton, Massachusetts:
Jerry may have been around then, but I don't think so. The independent middle does keep the radicals on the right and left in balance. I'm feeling more optimistic with Trump in the mix. He'll prove that "looney" won't play in Peoria.

During the Civil War it was North vs. South. It’s 2011, and we are divided not only north and south, but rich and poor, red and blue, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, employed and unemployed, union, non union. How much more divided can we be?

Jerry Brown has a point. However, the problem is broader than the Congress and their infantile behavior creating a "divided country". We elected them– at least those of us who bothered to vote. I wonder what would happen if the "non-voters" voted.

John in New Britain, Pennsylvania:
Most folk I talk to are unhappy with Washington as a whole, but too frustrated to dig deep enough to get at the true facts. As a result those with extreme views are stealing the limelight. Need a leader for the middle 60 percent-plus of us who just want to bring back the standards of 1950's – 1980's when taxes and compensation levels were fairer. We did have some GOP administrations in that period who served more than the greedy.

Joane in Wisconsin:
Well, that could be. We have a president who engages in class warfare. His so-called budget deficit speech today was nothing but a "kickoff to his 2012 campaign," full of generalities and trying to draw in and get back the Seniors. What he does not know is we want him gone. Seventy five percent of our neighborhood is Democrat, and 70 percent will not vote for him again no matter what.

Filed under: United States
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Loren, Chicago

    Jerry Brown is a well-known crackpot, so no one should listen to him. The U.S. is no more divided nor no less divided than it has ever been as any historian who is the least bit honest with himself will admit. This country was built out of divisions and conflict, but then so is the world, so why should anyone expect anything different?

    April 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  2. Jane (Minnesota)

    I've thought the same thing for quite some time. It's gotten far more polarized in the past couple of years. It's "my way or no way" more and more these days.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Pete in Georgia

    Yeah, he's probably right, but for different reasons.
    Today, the division we all see and feel is what happens when you're in line at the movie theatre, get your tickets but then expect the person behind you to pay for it.
    Not a great way to build unity.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Yes, that would be a correct statement, I think.

    Precisely why revolution in this country, is entirely possible.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  5. Bob Kobs

    Of course he is right. Are you Republican or are you high on something?

    April 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  6. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    The country was much more divided during the Vietnam war.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  7. John from Alabama

    Jack: This nation is devided into the haves and the have nots. A bloody revolution like the French Revolution could happen, if the middle class feels threatened by losing its buying power. People who do not see jobs for their children get angry, and people see the same old problems over and over each year get violent. Veterans kill themselves, because the Veterans Administration does not meet their needs. If the disfranchised get angry the first to go will be Congress, and then the wealthy. This is very bad, and would ruin this nation forever. If your not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  8. Ed Reed

    I don't know if it's even, but the divide seems to be between those who watch FOX and those who watch something else.


    April 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Peg in NY

    Yes he is right, Jack. It boggles my mind when I see how divided we have become in the U. S. A.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  10. Jayne

    I agree. Sometimes I think we should split the country in two and let those who seem to think "every man for himself" is the way to live have a go at it. They will enjoy their Somalia-like existence . . . briefly. As soon as they realize bridges need to be built, food needs to be safe, air needs to be clean and it helps to have medical care and education, they'll be begging to come back to the other side of the fence.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  11. Conor in Chicago

    He's wrong.

    I asked my mom who is 69 this question just the other day. Here is a paraphrase of what she said, "Son, when I was in my young 20's we were having race riots, our citizens were being drafted into a war, and local and state governments were going broke just as they are now so services were being reduced and Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, were all blaming each other just as we do today. The difference was that there was no 24 hour news cycle, lying on TV and radio is no longer a crime, and the corruption in our political system is on display as it has nowhere to hide any longer thanks to the internet. We can get through this just as we got through Vietnam, but we need the reasonable people like you to physically take the microphone from these enablers and restore sanity to this nation". Love you mom.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  12. ken, atlantic city, nj

    I agree that we are divided because the south has lower home prices, lower taxes, less regulations, worker rights, right to carry arms, and more personal freedomss while the north has higher taxes, higher home prices, more regulations, mandatory union dues, no gun carry laws and limited personal freedoms. I have lived in both the south and north, and I think the south has it right. I think another civil war is very likely because the politicians in washington just don't get it.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  13. Tony from Southport

    I can't remember a time when this country WASN'T divided with the exception of September 11, 2001. Perhaps Jerry has been smokin' somethin' that inhibits his memory....;-).

    April 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  14. Ken from California

    One only has to look at the election night maps on CNN and we see our country divided by Red States and Blue States. That division seems to have the same ideologies and biases of the Civil War era. One doesn't seem to like the nation called the United States after all these years.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  15. Joane G

    Well, that could be. We have Pres who engages in class warefare.
    His so called budget deficit speech today was nothing but a "kickoff to his 2012 campaign" full of generalities.....and trying to draw in and get back the Seniors – what he does not know is "we want him gone". 75% of our neighborhood is Demcocrat and 70% will not vote for him again"no matter what". He's a fake.
    Joane G

    April 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  16. Robby Bowling

    When there is nothing but fear-mongering by our selfish lying politicians that's what you get. Political correctness, immigration, debt, terrorism , wars, religion, family values, gay rights,bailing out wall street, drugs,union's, states right's & right track -wrong track. What do we agree on nothing. That's just the way it will be until we're told the truth. But don't hold your breath.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  17. Kim Smith

    If this isn't a divided country, I don't know what is. The wealthy against everyone who isn't, Republicans against everyone who isn't, corporations against consumers. Absolutely nobody is willing to compromise for the good of all. Very, very disappointing all around, and no change in sight.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  18. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack I don't happen to agree with Mr. Brown but that is no great surprise. Although Mr. Brown looks to be old enough to have lived during the civil war that is hardly the case and any comparison he draws is purely his own imagination. What is happening in America is that people are getting tired of the wasteful spending in Washington combined with the needless wars we have been engaging in for the last 10 years. We are 14.3 trillion dollars in debt and we have very little to show for it. The Washington war mongers need to stop attacking everyone and anyone and our politicians need to stop fighting among themselves and act like congressmen and women and not a pack of jackals. I had another word but this is national News so I cleaned it up a bit.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    tampa, fl i always thought of mr. brown as a full blown idiot, but i must agree with him on this one. i live south of the mason-dixon line where you can still see the effects of the War of Northern Aggression. add the large influx of immigrants (legal and illegal) that refuse to join America's melting pot and you end up with the anarchy that our government seems to want and encourages.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  20. Bradley, Portland, OR


    Rachel Maddow had a piece last night on MSNBC where she compared the states' rights, anti-federal government talk during the Civil War to similar language today.

    The modern Tea Partiers sound a lot like old Confederates.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  21. Bob D Iowa

    Jack with the Religious Fundamentalists showing their true face instead of being what Tea Party members started out representing, the act of deceit has hit new levels. These individuals are trying to force feed this nation their doctrine and have become the Christian Taliban of this country. They yell taxes, budget, less government but all along they are doing nothing but trying to cause hate and discontent toward all social issues, the current administration, blackmail the base of the GOP into voting their way, turn everyone against public unions and bring out candidates for president that wouldn’t ever be able to win their own state. They continue to lie about their agenda using god as a front runner. It is sad that so many good Christians have taken the bait slowly that they cannot see the truth.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  22. dennis north carolina

    yes would be the correct answer. the old south has risen from its sleepy bed in the form of the republican party. the south is the main stay of the republican party and their sub -division the tea party. yhe fooled the independent voters in the last election but are showing their strips now. they are for the rich and big business which is the maiin standards.they want to deregulate the government in all areas. they want to do away with government programs such as medicare and medicaid. they want to change social security and the tax system so they control the poor and the middle class as they get rich. these are all the items which they blamed the democrat in the past election so that the would gain power in congress but now they have power their tune has change. we need to control expenses and we need to raise taxes to pay the debt but check the past 30 years and which party controled the white house which will show you that that the republicans are guilty. oh, I am a independent voter but I look for the truth before i vote.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  23. Olga Pina

    Of course! Jerry Brown's assessment is right on the money.

    I have never understood why 50% of the population is for one issue and 50% of the other side against.

    Maybe that's the percentage of people who read and people who don't stay informed.

    Ignorant vs. intelligent? Take your pick!

    Austin, Texas

    April 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  24. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    He is right. When our country is bankrupted by the reckless idiots "we the people" have elected, we may yet see those desperate times again. Jerry should know. He's trying to cut care from the elderly, the children and the most dependant and needy in our society without taking a dime from the teacher's unions or other government worker's unions. Without touching pension reform. He isn't interested in anything but raising taxes and to get them, like a gangster, he will sacrifice the most helpless to twist the arm of Californians. What people will see is a crippled child without medication and help he needs and expect people to be outraged. They should be outraged at him for allowing overpaid building inspectors collect their bloated pensions and paychecks. Shared sacrifice doesn't apply to unions, since they really control California.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  25. Gerry

    Fruit Fly Brown is correct! In discussing Obama's election with my black friends and acquaintences their motivation in voting for him was that he was black not that he was the most qualified, most experienced or most intelligent. They did expect greater opportunities as one of their own is president. This politically correct rationale in selecting a president is ridiculous. The plus side of having elected Obama is that there are considerably more black people in the media now than before. Hope-fully the next election will level the playing field and elect the most .


    April 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  26. Scott in Bellingham

    Yes the country is divided and thousands are running away from a free spending President each hour. An evergrowing majority find themselves in the grip of an unpopular spendthrift grip President Obama for about 2 more years. The President is a good talker but he will never talk Americans into accepting the poorhouse or want to give him 'a little more time' to get his act together.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  27. Dave in Arizona

    Yes, our leaders do nothing but spread hate and vtiriol at every turn, each trying to blame another segment of the population for the country's problems. Our nation has garnered a sports team mentality. We are a group of different pockets of beliefs and each hates the others thinking.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  28. Larry Feierstein

    During the Civil War it was North vs. South. Its 2011 and we are divided not only north and south, rich and poor, red and blue, white, black , hispanic, asian, employed and unemployed, union, non union.
    How much more divided can we be?

    April 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  29. John Moore - New Britain, PA

    At a political level yes, but they are out of touch anyway. Most folk I talk to are unhappy with Washington as a whole but too frustrated to dig deep enough to get at the true facts. As a result those with extreme views are stealing the limelight. Need a leader for the middle 60%+ of us who just want to bring back the standards of 1950's – 1980's when taxes and compensation levels were fairer. We did have some GOP administrations in that period who served more than the greedy.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  30. calaurore9

    Jerry may have been around then, but I don't think so. The independent middle does keep the radicals on the right and left in balance. I'm feeling more optimistic with Trump in the mix. He'll prove that looney won't play in Peoria.

    Carol Colitti Levine
    Northampton, Massachusetts

    April 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  31. Sylvia from San Diego


    Gerry Brown is incorrect.... What he views as "divided" is simply the beginnings of "every person for themselves". This is what happens during high unemployment. Let us not forget Germany and make sure that we do not start the "blame game" and look for "scapegoats" to go after....

    April 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  32. Eve Lemon

    Since the republicans declared war on Obama the day he was elected, they have tried everything to make him and our country look bad. It already looks like a civil war. Eve, Texas

    April 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  33. Ichiro from Los Angeles

    He is right ever since the Republicans clearly went to the side of the riches. They worship them by call them "Job Creators". Job Creators? How many jobs did they create after the Bush Tax Cut?? They won't create jobs unless there is a demand for it. Consumers are the ones that create jobs, and we have been scraping the bottom too long.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  34. Dean from Coldwater, Michigan

    I believe the nation is probably the most divided that it's ever been, however not necessarily along party lines.

    The true, and ever increasing division, appears to be between Congress and the American public.

    I think the true blame rests with us. We have created a monster in having a Congress that no longer answers to the public, but instead takes the position that we are too uninformed to have any opinion that could possibly matter, unless of course it's one shared by them.

    We have hired a chauffeur that decides the speed, route and destination and simply tells us to sit back, shut up and we will get there when we get there. . . . Home James, . .please!

    April 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  35. Tina Tx

    You bet your bippie. Look at what is going on now. Republicans refuse to work with Democrats & they both refuse to take the blame of what has happened to our great nation. I hope I am alive when the poor people of America reach a boiling point and protest to all the cuts the wealthy keep getting instead of raises for the workers

    April 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  36. Jenny from Nanuet, NY

    Sadly, yes. There are far too many people who just cannot accept a BLACK person being the "boss" of them (which is how they see it). These are the people who "want their country back."

    April 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  37. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, what would "Moonbeam" Brown know about divisions in the rest of the country. California is so solidly ubber liberal, he wouldn't know division if it walked up and kissed him. In point of fact, this country is finally, actually, coming together, and it is almost universally against bigger debt, and more deficit spending. That is not good for Brown, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, and they are getting worried, so they are now getting busy vilifying anyone that even thinks about cutting their spending. Think it's going to fail this time!

    April 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  38. pat in mi.

    I would say it is from a hot button issue status.
    the media that reports to their respectve constituancies on the right or left is partly to blame for that.
    One thing we are united on however is when there is a crisis in this or any other country we drop the politics and try to help our fellow man.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  39. Mark Slawson

    He's right! Republicans want two classes. the rich on easy street and the poor on the street. I make less than thirty thousand dollars a year and i would be willing to pay 20% a year in taxes with no breaks to do my part. Why can't the folks making above 250 grand a year and above do without a heated pool or mow their own yard to save money. Greed is what got us into this mess. Democrat here, in enemy territory...

    Johnson City, Tennessee

    April 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    California Gov. Jerry Brown says the country is the most divided since the Civil War. Is he right?

    Gov. Jerry Brown is spot on Jack, and once again it is those that call themselves patriots and who refuse to be a part of our republic that are tearing it at the seams.

    Real Patriots work to keep the fabric of their nation together.

    Anyone can be a spoiler, but what does that really accomplish. NOTHING

    If those so called Patriots hate America so much they can leave. No one is forcing them to live in the land of the free home of the brave.


    April 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  41. Kevin of SD CA

    Jerry Brown doesn't ave a clue, and neither do his followers.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  42. Kevin of SD CA

    Jerry Brown doesn't have a clue, and neither do his followers.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  43. Mark from Voorhees, NJ

    It is divided, Jack, but not 50-50. The media seems to give the squeakiest wheels, who are on the right, the most coverage because of their outrageously outlandish and frequently astonishing positions (dog bites man) and because they were the ones who voted and therefore were over-represented in the last election. They are about 20-25%. The ones who voted for Obama, want to see those making over $250K pay their fair share, and would like to have affordable health care are 35%. And then there is the 40% who know Snooki and Bieber, but have no idea who Reid and Boehner are. I guess Brown is right.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  44. Eric

    Ridiculous, the country was far more seriously divided during reconstruction, the lead up to both world wars, the Vietnam war and during the civil rights movement. Jerry is just caught in a moonbeam.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  45. Gigi Oregon

    If Congress spent less time teaching us how to divide ourselves and more time in raising taxes to pay for wars and war games maybe we would be in better shape.The Republicans where so busy trying to divide the country they forgot to get a war tax and ended up in the wrong country. I guess they believed it would better to let our grandchildren pay for the wars, than say OOPS! Then, blame it on the next president who would undoubtedly be a Democrat after the mess they made. And the beat goes on...

    April 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  46. Steve,New York

    He's wrong. We have aslways been a nation divided. In today's time with 24 hrs of news a day and the internet streaming with breaking news, it's more pronouced. It is emphasis of the second.
    Everything is faster today. Instead of walking you're always running.
    Obviously this is going to create more and quicker heated controversies.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  47. greg lancaster,tx

    Yes. Remember during the civil war most of the southerners fighting, dying and being mamimed did not own slaves. Why would they do that to protect the right to own slaves of rich men. Further it only reduces the value of your own labor if the ruling class can get free labor.

    Now you see middle and working class people voting for the same type of republican executivd class whose sole reason for breathing is to profit from the elimination of the progresive income tax and the middle class. For some reason people in places like Wisconsin were surprised when the first thing the republican governor that they elected did was attack working people.

    This is our new civil war. At stake is the middle class and a working wage for Americans. Even if you are doing well now continue to vote for the same politicians who are bought and paid for by wealthy business interests and they will eventually come for your job too.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  48. Micki Sander

    Yes, the country is dividied between the top 5% of the population who live above the Million Dollar line and all the rest! Who in this day believes that an annual income of $250.000.00 is making them rich. Try raising a family on that and sending them to college without a scholarship. The top income level is over $500,000. so that is where we need to raise the taxes and stop hitting on the little guys who are the ones that have made this country what it is today and we do not need to destroy their efforts. Obama is correct in what he is attempting to do – will Congress give up their health care benefits? they have the best benefits in the courntry/world. Congress gets paid if the country shuts down – they need to grow up – Americans know what they are attempting to do – we just need to have them all on the same plane as the rest of the citizens of the USA.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  49. Carl


    Like many people, I have no use at all for politicians. They might go in with good intentions, once they hit that den of thieves and liars, all bets are off. The only ones politicians serve, are themselves. Useless, simply useless. I don't think their is an honest one, anywhere, do you?

    April 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  50. John Blythe

    Jack, I live in California and unfortunately Governor Brown is the same recycled mess we've all had before. Democrats have largely controlled this State for decades, and voters here are unbelievably ignorant on just about everything. Massive spending and entitlements (billions of dollars on illegal aliens, outrageous inflated pension funds that California can no longer afford, etc.) are the core of our problems, yet Brown is unwilling to do anything to address those problems, specifically. The only thing he wants is higher taxes and his plan is proposing the same tax increase that former has-been actor Schwarzenegger put on the ballot over a year ago and it was turned down by a majority of California voters. In short Jack, California is screwed and we are fundamentally going bankrupt!

    – John
    Century City, CA

    April 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  51. Ann from Charleston SC

    He is right that we are divided. If it is as divided as the time of the Civil War, I really don't know. We have always had disagreement, but it seems that now people hate anyone who disagrees with them. The anger and hatred really bother me.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  52. greg mull

    Gov Brown is close but issues can be dealt with with the stroke of a pen, We can't call our situation today in any comparison to the civil war. Nobody here's ready to die for anything. That's the problem

    April 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  53. John - Oakland, California

    It's the nature of politics that any given time is the most divided we've ever been–the entry into World Wars 1 & 2, Korea, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Iraq–just as any given election is the most important election we've ever had. Methinks, politicos like Jerry Brown sometimes forget, when they make these kinds of melodramatic statements, that compared to a lot of the rest of the world, we come off like pussycats when it comes to resolving our internal differences with mud slinging and name-calling instead of bombs and bullets.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  54. Birddog in Mississippi

    It seems that nowadays people are rewarded for the worst possible behavior. Reality shows reward kids young adults for acting obnoxiously, housewives for acting like spoiled brats, and D-list celebrities for acting like idiots. The worst possible political figures, Bachmann, Trump, Palin and the like make millions for being stupider than bricks on shows like your while in depth analysis of policy is rare. Blogger present knee-jerk reactions to everything & Paul Ryan is praised for 'courage' for presenting a plan that simply passes our entire debt onto the backs of everybody under 55 in higher health care costs while making the rich richer.
    The US population should be ashamed of itself.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  55. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    At the core of our divide for a more perfect union is our debt. The fact both parties refer to the problem as a"debt ceiling" indicates neither party can see our debt is not a ceiling. Our debt is a Bottomless Pit.
    Both sides agree Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are the largest contibutors to our debt.
    We can all agree that these costs are not from the benefits received but, from the administration costs of bureaucrats empowered by Congress to legally skim the top. The sacrifice or elimination of theses entitlements would be devastiting to those who administer the programs not, those who actually benefit.
    Neither party supports the abolishment of these institutions One side wants to privatize them to a Oligopoly Big for Business and the otherside wants to keep them in control of big government. So both sides agree that "we the people" should have no direct input and should be obiedient and wait patiently for our handouts as they may direct. Ted Kennedy made a career saving Social Security. If the people were empowered in Healthcare, Retirments they wouldn't need saving.
    Have a Great Day

    Burma Shave

    April 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  56. Jan From DE

    Yep, he is right on. We are building up to another war too. It will be a war to maintain the middle class.......a class war, rich vs poor.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  57. John from Wisconsin

    I think Jerry is absolutely correct. Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) said that we are basically divided into the "Awares" and "UnAwares"...that pretty much says the chasm is about as deep and wide as it could ever be.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  58. Frankie

    Asking this question does not help. Please try to be positive about the future of the outstanding United States of America.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  59. Linda Richards

    Yes, we are divided. With the media showing only the two extremes, the nuts out there think they're normal so maybe it seems a lot worse than it is. I certainly hope there are a bunch of silent but sane people out there.
    Stop giving lunatics a microphone and maybe speech will be more civilized.
    Linda in Woodbury

    April 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  60. Nina Fox

    Brown is correct! The divide and conquer strategy from Congress and Wall-street elite on the backs of the Middle Class American. Money = Power = rhetoric and propaganda. If you hear it often enough, you begin to believe it. $250.000.00 after deductions = $500,000 annual income.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  61. Kurt from Alaska

    I wouldn't say that he's wrong, but he's not right either. In D.C., the schism is ridiculous. But, that doesn't reflect the American public, or even the states. The idiots in the House and Senate need to stop acting like children and start doing some real work.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  62. Jean Breslin

    Gas prices are high because of the hedge fund wanting to make a killing on the market. It has nothing to do with supply and demand. It has everything to do with the Bush tax cut; capital gains; they don't have to pay.
    See how it stimulates our economy. Yes we need to keep this tax cut it is keeping our economy going. The Republicans and Democrats need to stop arguing and work together. If they are going to cut programs lets see them cut their own budgets. I have never seen group that waste more money than they do and get more perks than they do.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  63. andyz Lynn, MA

    Stop the presses. Governor Moonbeam got one right.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  64. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    Unfortunately I think that he is right. No Labels is the best answer to the problem of hyper-partisanship that I have seen so far.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  65. Mike in Denver

    Moonbeam is on the money. This country is fiercely divided on the economy, heath care, military operations, and immigration. Sadly, our politicians are more instigators than healers. Unity today is a myth.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  66. Allen in Hartwell GA

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Gov. Brown is probably right. The hard part to understand is why? Politics is a stupid game to detract us from more important matters, and only the politicians are interested in playing the game. Why the middle of the country is getting so hyped up is beyond me. Who do they think is going to pat them on the back for being part of the mob that burns down the capital?

    April 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  67. Randy

    Yes. The bankers and corporations have succeeded in the DIVIDE portion of their grand scheme of ripping off the countries wealth. Now get ready for the CONQUER part of the equation. Why do you think we've never heard George sores and the Koch brothers go after each other.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  68. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    "Every generation needs a new revolution."

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

    Thomas Jefferson

    April 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  69. Rob in NC

    Yes, and it flows from the top down. Last time I checked this was the UNITED States of America. Not the republican or democratic states of America. I really miss the days when people used to care about each other and work to help and do what was right. Now it's every man, woman, and child for themselves. Why can't we work TOGETHER to make this country great again? Rob in NC

    April 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  70. jeff in hawaii


    No. I agree with you. This country is certainly the most divided it has been since Vietnam but for entirely different reasons. The division between citizens for both the Civil War and Vietnam were based on moral issues. Keep slavery? Fight a war for not reason? Today's divisions are based on one thing and one thing only; money. While few address it (yourself excluded), we are involved in a class war between the haves and have nots, with the "think they haves" proudly carrying the banner for the haves. This silent war has been going on since the 1890's and will not end until the American people demand a fair footing in this fight by getting business out of Government.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  71. BOB OHIO

    We are divided by design. Big Business and Big money and the Industrial-military complex does not want us united in any way. We are kept under control through their manipulation of our emotions and reactions to knee-jerk hot button issues, like terrorists, war, healthcare, illegal aliens, religion, etc

    April 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  72. Ray in Knoxville

    He's absolutely right, Jack, and it's the same region of the country causing all the problems, too.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  73. Judy

    Yes he is right. Hatred is rampant in the country. Civility is out the window in the halls of congress. These people are elected officials who lead by example. Too bad the example is one of bald faced lies (Sen. Kyle), unfounded accusations, ( You Lie!), and of course there's Fox News, Rusch Limbaugh, Glen Beck etal , and the list goes on. Looney Tunes!

    April 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  74. Conor in Chicago

    The reason this country is so divided is because you have an Elite Investment Class fighting for the spoils of Globalization by purposely offering diverget "realities" in mass media on a daily basis. If you are Republican you think reality is one thing, if you are a Democrat you think it is something else, and anybody who doesn't fit into these rigid alternate realites gets crowded out by the noise.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  75. Mary Steele Yorktown VA

    As long as we have Democrats that want to continue spending like they are now, complained when the GOP was overspending in Iraq and Afghanistan, had full power for two years and could have defunded it, and still complains when the GOP is trying to cut our debt, then yes!!

    April 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  76. Rich Rukavina

    Hey Jack,

    Last May someone stold my car and I haven't replaced it yet. Instead I rent one 5-6 days per month to call on clients. I also use the rental to do my shopping, cleaners and other errands I have. What I have noticed is that I don't really need a car more than that. I am close to grocery stores and can walk. Bus stop is close. You can't believe how much money I have saved.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  77. Conor in Chicago

    Consider this Jack: In the last WI election there was a question on the ballot in Dane County, which includes Madison, that asked "Should we ammend the Constitution to establish that
    1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and

    2. Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech."

    Want to know why we might be on the brink of Civil War? Because no body knows that they largely agree with each other on the basics. We are being divided by the Corporations!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  78. Conor in Chicago

    I the recent election in Dane County Wisconsin, the county that includes Madison, 84% of voters responded yes to the following question:

    "Should we ammend the Constitution to establish that

    1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and

    2. Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech."

    This is Republicans and Democrats. Do you see the pattern here? Have you noticed no news organizations are talking about this? Corporations divide us, not ideology. That's why we are potentially on the brink.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  79. Sandstone.

    "No! Since the American war of indipendence, Yes!!!!! You really don't have the French on your side this time, and your slaves are running amock!"

    April 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  80. Johnny C (from Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    Tough statement to answer since none of us were around during the civil war. However, in California, it is definitely divided between the "earn your living on your own" and the "I deserve something without doing anything" sides of the coin. Toss in your Hispanics (legal and illegal) and you have a wild mixed bag of ethnicities and politics. If you bring in the CA Pensioners you have another twist to the puzzle.

    I do not think that the Civil War was ever as divided as you have in the representation of California.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  81. Joe Tyrrell

    Yes he is right probably because this is the grimest of economic times and I lived tru the Depression & WWII.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  82. Doug

    Absolutely!! The divide is HUGE! People are way apart whether it's on religious issues like abortion and gays. Or whether it's taxes and the budget. Some are trying to restart the Civil War with talk of succession and nullification. Some states are trying to print their own currency. So yes, we are very, very far apart.

    Case in point in regard to who's to blame for high gas prices:
    The worst part is we are only paying these RIDICULOUS prices because a few "speculators" on Wall Street are driving the cost of oil up and up and up out of....you guess it...FEAR!! My family has less because some analyst is having a panic attack? And now DODO-BIRDS like Palin and the GOP want to blame President Obama? That's insane! Bush's back-pocket homeys have been raking in RECORD PROFITS FOR OVER 10 YEARS, which is long before Obama was even on the scene!!! So cut the crap! This sucks!!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  83. Karl in Flint

    With the Tea Party taking over the party formerly known as the Republican Party, there is no middle ground for negotiation. There is a very wide divide between those that know what can and should be done and those that irrationally demand things with no concept of how to accomplish them or what the ramifications will be. Common sense is no longer all that common.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  84. lynnej in north carolina

    Yes he's right. People have been divided for years, but it got worse on November 4, 2008 when then Senator Obama became President Obama.

    People saw this as losing 'their way of life' whatever that is instead of the United States finally living what they tout to the world that we're a country of inclusiveness.

    This country is becoming more browner and multicultural. And that just scares the daylights out of some folk. Sad thing is that some politicans are capitalizing on that fear pulling Americans farther apart.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  85. Dariel, Santa Rosa, CA.

    Yes. It's not much different than the civil war in Libya, with the resources favoring one side. Though we don't have the violence, we are in a "class civil war" and the odds are against the majority of the American people. We have elected officials that represent one CLASS, believing that they would represent the other. The majority of our trusted elected officials walk away from politics very rich.

    We don't have the lawyers, lobbyists, representative, unity, or the money to change our unbalanced structure.

    It's easier to unite 5% of one class than it is to unite 95% of the other class.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  86. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Of course we're divided. The rich keep getting richer and the GOP tells us the middle class and the poor have to pay for it. Every poll says the people want their elected officials to work but instead we get a lot of fingerpointing and fearmongering. Face it, our days as the greatest country in the world are numbered. We don't need Mayan phrophesies about the end of the world. The sad truth is, we're doing it to ourselves.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  87. Lonnie

    Yes. ENTROPY the basic law of
    In essence, the most general interpretation of entropy is as a measure of our uncertainty about a system. The equilibrium is gone FOREVER. This uncertainty is not of the everyday subjective kind, but rather the uncertainty inherent to thIS SYSTEM and it is failing and cannot be stopped. (One man's OPINION)

    April 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  88. H @ Idaho

    Yes, the country is more divided than it has been since the Civil War.

    But unlike the antebellum era, the division is made up. Politicians and media are creating the division to advance their financial gains.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  89. steve - virginia beach

    Yes we are and it's been manufactured. Community organizing-type civil rights advocates have conditioned us to bow to their demands using the race card. And we can't be opposed to amnesty and citizenship for illegal aliens without being called racists or zenophobes. Ever since Obama started campaigning for '08 we haven't been able to criticize him or not like his policies and ideology without being called racist. We've even started seeing Sharia law trumping US law in the courts. It appears that MLKs dream of true equality will never be achieved in the US.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  90. Steven, Mesa, Arizona

    Yes, and maybe not into just two factions. At least during the 19th Century the philosophies were geographic. Now we're all mixed together, not knowing who is who until it's too late.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  91. Glenn Kirkland

    As a citizen of the Divided States of America, I would have to say, "yes!"

    April 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  92. William S.

    In a day of womans rights, gender issues, gay marriage, religion, and are you connected with 9/11? YES, we are more divided than ever....

    April 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  93. pclittle

    Divided – you bet – and getting worse every day.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  94. Gonecoastal

    Yes I agree, just look at the last few elections, almost 50-50 on the voting.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  95. Jacob

    He's absolutely right. The president simply needs to make the case that this partisanship is unacceptable and clearly that is why the American people voted him into office. It seems to me that America has forgotten the Republicans got us into this economic mess in the first place. Obama, thanks for finally putting your foot down. Do not budge.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  96. Gary H. Boyd

    I almost never agree with Governor Moonbeam on anything but I do on this. Once in awhile Jerry Brown gets it right and this is one of those times. America's clearly become a divided nation once again but for entirely different reasons. 150 years ago it was slavery - today it is economics. It's a divide between the have's and have-nots since the middle class is fast becoming a memory. Yeah Jack, Brown's got it right.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    April 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  97. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Somewhere in our history we gave away our compassion for absolute ideology, we sacrificed truth for lies, empathy for power, and absorbed generations of greed. We are indeed a fractured society whose best chance for survival lay in the spirituality and each of our awakenings.

    Let's not wait until we hit bottom.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  98. Rajah R

    I was around for the Civil War, but its pretty deeply divided right now, and we don't need to pretend. We all know why.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  99. Josh - Winnipeg CA

    Well Jack, I wouldn't go as far as to say that the United States is AS divided as during the civil war seeing no senators have killed any other senators...yet. The country is obviously falling apart piece for piece and I think this is a perfect time to stand up for common sense and fight for ethics. Watching the government these days is like watching small children fighting, and there's no point in watching when we can do something. Keep on questioning our leaders Jack, I enjoy hearing what you have to say.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  100. Brian

    Gov. Brown is correct. The poor is the only thing growing in America. We are a divided country now. Good news: World history shows us that the masses will rise and revolt.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  101. Burt in Az

    I think he is right. Instead of being the United States of America, we have become The Divided States of America. Greed has become more important than what is best for the people and country.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  102. SH in rockford IL

    I think the people of the US are more unified now than ever before in that they are tired of politicians who promise the moon and deliver nothing. We have our divisions but I think there is more unity in the complete disgust the people have for the government right now than some want to admit. I think it is time for Congress to wake up and listen or they will be out of a job.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  103. Thom Magargal

    For some reason, I was taught that elected officials ( congress and senate), were put in office to voice the concerns of their constituents.Sadly, it seems they want to voice either their own opinions or that of " the party"..How can one side of the aisle vote one way, and the other another way. Is there no more individuality? God help us.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  104. Andrew T. Linko

    Yes, Jerry Brown is right. But what do we get from the few owners of all the media? Charley Sheen, Lindsey Lohan, Dancing with the Stars? Start reporting the facts of who owns and buys our economy, national policy, and foreign policy. GE owns NBC and is a major defense contractor, will NBC oppose any war?

    April 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  105. JONIQUE

    yes we are a divided country- has always been a divided country. Whites are just realizing what blacks have always known. Divided among haves-have-nots. Difference now is that many whites are suffering along with many blacks.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  106. kurt arnold

    yes he right this country is torn from the haves and the have not
    the rich and the poor
    the stupid and the educated
    the ones who jobs and the ones who dont
    the tea party the democrates and the repulicans
    yeah id say he right

    April 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  107. CurtS

    You bet!! Where's the middle road and a commonsense approach to governing?

    April 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  108. George

    Gov Brown would be correct Jack,our division and fractured society stems from poor leadership at the top and the corporate stranglehold that had obviously hijacked our government and country. Americans are just plane o'l pissed off... ie sick and tired being led around by the nose and continuously lied to by those we elect into office.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  109. Larry Stokes

    It seems (i have been a republican for 60 years) the GOP is just doing everything they can to ruin the country.....Why????
    The setting president is doing his best to straighten out the mess, but they fight him tooth and nail.
    California people have short memories......Brown and his father were the "best" governors that state ever had. They fought for the people.
    Yes, scary as it is, we are divided to the point, I truly believe civil unrest in the USA is imminent.. SO SAD....

    April 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  110. Dave Indiana

    GE is a good example of this.
    Now, watch all the BULLFROGS (The GOP) in the hail storm their creating!
    Watch their eyes blink, as they try to lie themselves out of this one!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  111. Rebecca Unger

    Jerry's correct.
    The right has succeeded in getting the socially conservative to carry on their class warfare, and to hear the Republican rebuttals today after Obama's budget speech accuse the Prez of class warfare? of inciting class envy and fear? – what hypocrites.
    I've elected Jerry 3 times now, and my folks elected his dad twice before.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  112. Sue

    Well, he's close. Reconstruction kept the country divided after the Civil War, but since then I don't believe anything else has been as divisive as this current budget mess.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  113. Beth Hancock

    He's right. And it's not just the Republicans vs. the Democrats. There are a lot of clear thinking people out here who would rather vote for the donkey or the elephant than any candidate either party puts forward. Congress is a disgrace, and yet they still get reelected.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  114. Jim

    Yes. Very divided. Except not the same way as the taxation that caused the War, yet still taxation. The "well offs" keep getting more, while the majority of the rest of us struggle to pay bills month to month. The government still squabbles to "win". Where are the jobs programs?? Why aren't they putting people to work to pay taxes and buy goods? Get the steel mills fired up to produce structral steel for roads and bridges, get the electrial grid back into this century... how's that for starters??

    April 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  115. TW

    Yes I believe he is correct. We have a perfect storm of problems which at any moment could spill over into a second civil war.
    class warfare, no jobs rising inflation of food and gas cost. The signs are on the wall. I do believe the USA has reached its peak of greatness and from here on will decline much like the roman empire did

    April 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  116. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    I think he is right. Each side is lying to make their point and I think most people know it. Planned parenthood does NOT use most of their money for abortion. People making $250K are NOT rich. Our deficit can NOT be addressed by taxing them. That is truely class envy. Our divisions have esculated into hated & I find I am guilty of that feeling also. I wish I could talk to Cong. Weinner and Harry Ried and tell them how much I hate them and the lies they tell..

    April 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  117. Ken

    Absolutely, the divisions within our country are deeper than I can ever remember. The GOP is far more responsible for driving in the wedges than the Democrats... while one can easily count the middle of the road and conservative democrats finding a middle of road Republican is difficult at best. Strangely, the GOP resembles the old confederacy more than it does the party of Lincoln.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  118. Susan from Idaho

    Not even close. Most of us realize that a one party philosophy is akin to what Iranians and Cubans face. I don't feel that those who believe differently than I do are bad. I find it odd that a governor would put that idea out there.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  119. Tim in Texas

    When the economy is bad, everybody looks for someone to blame. So far, the republicans have blamed illegal immigrants, muslims, teachers, cops, firefighters, and the poor. Seems to me that the rich have been sucking up all the wealth. It's not like all the money we've borrowed has ended up in the hands of the poor. The TPGOP claims the democrats are waging class warfare, heck I just want the GOP to stop stealing our money and our kid's money to give to their corporate donors.
    If Exxon Mobile and GE are 'people', let them go fight our wars. If not, at least let them help pay for them.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  120. A Ohio

    ...Hate to agree with Gov. Brown...but he's right...The civil war was fought because African people in this country were not free....Now, we have a man of African descent who is trying to free the country from itself.....again..

    April 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  121. Dave

    Yes, The country is very divided. Those that watch real news and those that watch Faux (Fox). The Tea Party crazies make things worse and seem to be focused on a small picture not at the big picture.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  122. Dominick


    How would anybody know ? None of us have been alive since the Civil War. I've been alive since 1982 and it is the worst that I can remember. Republicans thinks all Democrats are idiotic military hating hippies and Democrats think Republicans are a bunch of un-informed clueless people that hate the poor. Neither is true but both sides don't get it. People need to realize that no politcal party has a Monopoly on the truth.


    April 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  123. Henry in Corpus Christi

    W hat do you expect with the GOP being hijacked by the fundamentalist religious right fanatics and tea bagger fools? Until the party is rid of these clowns, America will see no unity.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  124. LD Backues

    Personally, I am unsure if we are more divided now than at any time since the Civil War, but the ideological polarization between the left and the right is very discouraging. Furthermore, since the divide is so ideological, no one seems to care what the truth is about any particular issue – instead, people simply fall in line like lemmings, committed to a particular answer based upon which party they prefer. As a country, we need to rediscover how to talk to each other and, more importantly, how to listen to each other. Until we do, our body politic (and our general population) will continue to draw further and further away from each other. In the end, we all suffer with such disunity and deeply sown enmity.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  125. Chris in WI

    We are devided as follows; some of us want to be free and some of us want to control everyone else.

    Those who want to be in control are intolerant of anyone who is not Christian, who doesn't speak english (heaven forbid THEY learn another language), intolerant of anyone who chooses to get high differently then they do, etc.

    And in the last case we lock you up if you disagree.

    Washington is now the stupid vs the ignorant with the lobby groups pulling their strings.

    I'm scared for my country's future for the first time in my life.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  126. Stephen Charchuk

    Of course it is greatly divided, because the Republicans keep showing their contempt for the rest of America by pushing the failed policies of Reaganomics for the passed 30 years. If "trickle down on" economics(Massive tax cuts for the rich) is suppose to create jobs I'd like to know WHEN it'll do this. It sure hasn't done much yet. These companies still ship jobs overseas. The division created by the Republicans is going to destroy the USA all because of their short-sighted greed..

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  127. Tim in Washington

    I don't think it is most divided since the civil war, but definitely the most divided since the Vietnam era. It is currently impossible to even get a civil discussion between the left and right without gross mistruths and revisionist history being pushed by both sides. If we could just have civil discourse, only then can we begin to bridge the gap.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  128. Ken in NC

    He is close to being spot on Jack. They just haven't put up the public auction blocks back up yet.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  129. Benjamin Derby

    Divided? More like dislocated. We have politicians who only play to their party line instead of their constituency and people who keep voting these guys in. People in this country fear our government instead of the government fearing the people which is how governments work in almost every other developed country in the world. In order for us to become truly united, we need to start electing leaders who care for our well-being.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  130. Joseph D'Amore

    Of course he's right. Don't you watch the news, Jack? The difference now though is that now it's the intelligent vs. the stupid and the stupid are winning! The republicans are brainless, the democrats are spineless leaving the country hopeless. It appears if I want my children to grow up in the greatest country on earth I'll have to move.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  131. Bryan (New York)

    I would disagree. Although I believe political disunity is higher than it has been in many decades, many political conflicts that occurred after the civil war were more polarizing. The civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam created sharp divides in society that ultimately led to violence. There has been very little violence, if any, over the modern political debates that affect our society.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  132. Val

    Well if we don't have a civil war soon I am afraid it will turn into a world war with China if we go bankrupt.....and I will not defend and protect an American republican!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  133. C.M.

    About the only thing Congress seems to be unified on is their utter stupidity and inability to get anything done efficiently, much less ethically. We are debating the same kind of issues today that we were before the civil war, such as, to put it simply, how far can the federal government go to limit our rights in the name of "national security"? We are not as divided as we were pre-civil war, or during Vietnam, but perhaps we should be. I know I am not alone when I say that I am fed up and flat-out enraged at the–pardon my French, please–bullshit that is going on in Congress, on both sides of the spectrum (because, really, being "Democrat" or "Republican" means nothing except that campaign funding comes from a different set of corporations)

    April 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  134. Davon

    Yes, it's divided and I don't see any unity in the future for this country. I think this country might divide and split-up into smaller counties. The republicans want to take from the poor and give to the mega-rich. They really don't get it...they want to lead this country to hell. Tax-cuts should go by-the-way-side and all of us should pay our fair share base on the amount we make and if the rich have to pay a little more so-be-it.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  135. Walter McMain

    The divide in this country is there, and visible, and massive. Yet it hardly has a clear beginning and a clear end, the concerns of all intermingle, even the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich still share the planet in some respect, and always will. Perhaps when we all realize this, we can start to move forward, and make the world a better place for everyone. Not just the ones who we've forced into having to afford it.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  136. Jeremy D from Michigan

    In many ways we are even more divided these days. Luckily, we are all more intelligent though. I have trouble having a political conversation with my parents, let alone anyone I do not know.

    There are many comparisons that can be made with the Civil War, and the Republican/Democrat war of modern times; One could say that the confederacy was fighting against a big government that wanted more control, which is similar to modern Republican's ideals. Obviously, the confederacy was ultimately evil because of big business from the south trying to hold onto the abomination of Slavery, but one can see how a comparison can be made.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  137. Bob

    You know what Jack,

    the media doesn't get it – they are still harping about a 'divided country' and lack of bipatisanship. In my estimate the country is united in that they want less military spending, more accountability in banking and investing, higher tax rates for all especially the rich, ending oil subsidies. These are the things the media should be discussing, not Washington politicking. We won't achieve that using bipartisanship.

    Most people know that the republicans are hysterical cheap labor corporatists while the Democrats are useless wimps at protecting the middle class. Most people understand the dangers if we don't raise taxes and are quite willing to pay more.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  138. Seth

    Absolutely Jack. its clear were divided. when the folks we elect make it clear that the answer to all our problems is budget cuts and more taxes but lets protect the rich and hose the poor. its clear the folks we elected have no clue or desire to figure out how to solve our problems. they would much rather us take the shut up and color approach..and let them be happy were paying them to do nothing.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  139. Fyne, Chicago

    Not at all. This country is no more divided now than at any time since the Civil War. A lot of progress has been made, but a black man in the White House is too much for a rabid vocal minority whose divisive voices are daily magnified in the echo-chamber of ubiquitous media.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  140. w.b.

    Yes, If only to say that as we were divided about slavery during the civil was we are now divided by our income in the 21st century. The haves and the have nots. Without servious reform of the tax code, healthcare fraud, and defense spending in this country, the downward spiral will only continue.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  141. Jake

    I see where the governor is coming from, but any comparison between the Civil War era and today is misleading. The fact is that dissenting voices have always thrived in our land of free speech, but it is "the sound and the fury" of our over-connected and under-informed media echo chamber that allow us to feel that we're on the brink.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  142. Lenny

    He's right. This time it isn't the North against the South. Now it's the public sector verses the private sector. Work hard and get straight A's so you can get into medical school and you’ll work until you're 70 so the guys who got C's can retire in their 50's with 6 figure pensions. Guess which party represents the C students.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  143. B. N.

    Hyperbole, I think not! Clearly his social commentary is based on his age, he must be the oldest living human to know that we have never been this divided since the civil war. He's like every other politician... he wouldn't exaggerate to make a point? Old Russian proverb, "people get the government they deserve."

    April 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  144. Jeremy D from Michigan

    Just wanted to add:

    It can be seen from the recent election of Republicans into the house, that the – majority – of Americans are moderate and strongly against conservative extremism OR liberal extremism. As long as the people have a say in American politics, then I think we're okay Jack.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  145. Laith F. Gulli

    Hi Jack:

    Gov Brown is a very intelligent individual and has a long history as a seasoned politician with an extensive CV built on decades of hard work–we should believe him on this comment.

    I am sure he means it in a way not to harm, but to build and awareness for positive change, before this divide worsens even more.

    The current divide is not a healthy one which fosters debate and solutions.This current divide is like an internal "Cold War" diminishing everything that is American.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  146. Sears Jr.

    I think it is!! Jerry brown is right! When you have people in several states running for governor with chants of nullification from the union and talk of printing their own confederate currency, And All the lies about our President that people want to believe even when there is overwhelming evidence that it is wrong, And personally jack..I think that is sadly where it all comes from....A black( mixed race) President.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  147. JimGreenm Seguin, TX- www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack, ABSOLUTELY! I will be 77 in 4 days, with a 13 year impeccable payment record—who was threatened by my landlord with eviction for attractive canopies on my carport as added protection for my mint Cadillac from the unforgiving Texas sun—they have been there 4 years, and received nothing but praise—the attack was devoid of rational business sense—the real reason: I have an Obama sign in my yard!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  148. Ken

    I have been a Republican all my life. Now I see the rich getting richer an the poor and middle class taking all the hits. I see the republicans assualting the rest. I am no longer voting the party line. The rich get richer the poor poorer. There is going to be a civil war if medicare and SS get taken away! Jerry Brown is right!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  149. Fallen

    I feel he is right and at a much deeper level than may be apparent. Look at the root causes of the civil war, slavery yes, but why would the southern slave owners want to keep slavery, not just from racist ideals, but from a profit standpoint much like now. Those who were in power and very rich, due to slavery, wanted to keep both the power and the profit for themselves.

    Now in our time we do still have a form of slavery, economic slavery, corporations are infected with greed, paying workers less and concentrating the profits of the company at the top. If for instance the bush tax cuts were eliminated then the federal government and the states would have the ability to invest in our infrastructure which would create thousands of jobs and opportunities. which in turn would create a competitive environment in the employment sector giving the average worker the ability expect better pay, which means less money for the greedy. Therefore the attacks on the unions, the last defenders of the common worker. just my two cents!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  150. Caroline


    Jerry Brown has a point. However, the problem is broader than the Congress and their infantile behavior creating a "divided country". We elected them at least those of us who bothered to vote. I wonder what would happen if the "non-voters" voted. Maybe we should put civics back into the school curriculum starting in Grade 1. They should have read Dickens Tale of Two Cities by 6th grade. We might get better results!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  151. Tom from Nebr.

    I'd have to say yes. Union vs anti-union about 50/50. Pro choice or anti-abortion about 50/50. Those are two of the big ones. People seem unwilling to budge an inch from their favorite ideology no matter what kind of contrary evidence there is. I have never seen so much hate. It's times like these that I'm glad I am an old man. This once wonderful country has turned ugly beyond belief, but fortunately I won't be in it for much longer to witness the further painful decline of this country. I only ask one thing of the people and the politicians. No matter what else happens, take care of the Veterans. If you've not personally served, you have no idea what the sacrifice is like. They deserve your support.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  152. Bill Upper NYS

    Part of the reason we are so divided is that the conservatives just won't accept the fact that "trickle-down" economics doesn't work because of the greed-factor. They also can't seem to understand that the American public are not a bunch of illiterate 1930's factory workers; thanks to cable news networks and the internet, they can't expect their lies to be blindly accepted. I'm so sick of hearing "the public wants" from all the politicians when they really are out of step with the public.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  153. Casey

    I think the country is more unified than divided. Those who voted Republican are finally seeing that their welfare is not a part of the Republican agenda (i.e Union stripping bills, getting rid of medicare/medicaid, families of troops not getting paid, etc.). Why are they so surprised?

    That is why I liked the Facebook founder. Had he done the work for those twins, the twins would probably had been the next Bill Gates and he would have remained unknown and probably released from his responsibilities after they found a cheaper replacement.

    Given that the country is being ran by businesses now (and not the people), I might give some serious consideration to moving to another country altogether.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  154. Dianne

    We are, in fact, racially divided – we just cover it "better" than we did then. The biggest division, however, is between the "haves" & "have-nots." There is almost no compassion or concern for the "have-nots" by the political right. They believe whatever lies and distortions that they are told by Fox, Palin & Co., and John B. The thing is that this, too, could very well be based on race, which adds to the enormity of the divide and is totally detrimental to our nation's well-being and successful re-building.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  155. Donald New Mexico

    The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Politics are poison. Congress is so divided they can't do anything until they must vote due to time constraints. A hurried vote is not a thought out vote. Politics keep congress ineffective. It's all about reelection not about the country's benefit. How can this country pull together on anything when rich and poor interests are at odds. It is too easy for politicians to get people to vote against their own interests. How many Republicans really benefited from tax cuts for the rich?

    April 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  156. Renee

    This country has always been divided but since President Obama was elected, long suppressed bias feelings are being expressed. It is all coming out in the wash!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  157. wendy from california

    yes, this country is very divided. it is sad that those that we count on to mind the helm are currently acting like a bunch of children. i know that if i do not do my job i do not get paid...maybe we should start docking their pay until they decide to grow up. here is another suggestion...to keep our office working and our jobs, we agreed to give up some of our benifits and while the company would still pay for our insusrance, we would pick up our families insurance payments....and none of US make over 250K. maybe our congresspersons and senatepersons would like to take over the payments for THEIR families instead of having the tax payers pay it. how much would that save us? may also make some people think about the $ of insurance payments.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  158. Lester Helms

    Warren Buffett said-This is class warfare. My class is winning.
    That's not the way it should be. ENOUGH SAID?

    April 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  159. Change to What

    California – Since 1970, the Democrats have controlled BOTH sides of the state legislature except for 2 years – 1994 – 1996 when Republicans controlled only one half of the legisture.. The Democrats have written the spending bills, appropriated the funds and set the policies that have brought California to where it is today FOR OVER 40 YEARS. As we all know, Governors do not write the the legislation and spending bills. They sign them. When you have ONE PARTY rule for basicially 40+ years and see our issues, you have to ask yourself – WHY do the citizens continue to elect the same people in election after election?

    One huge issue are the PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS. Guaranteed salaries and benefits for the REST OF YOU LIFE including annual cost of living increases. Prisons – work to 50, retire with FULL BENEFITS AND SALARY is and example. Democrats run the unions, negotiate with Democrats who set the salaries and benefits for the unions.

    All the while, illegal aliens FLOOD THE STATE and into our social services and hospitals. In San Diego, 30+ years ago, there were signs on the San Diego freeways with hispanics running across the road in front of autos with a warning to be careful of them crossing the FREEWAY.

    And the Federal Government has announced they will not supply the normal amount of water to the farmers again even though our dams are full.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  160. dekondan

    The country is divided along the same lines as the civil war, The are red and blue whereas the Civil war colors were blue and grey, There is the same prejudice as there was in civil war days and the source of prejudice remains the same.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  161. Jim

    Gov Jerry Brown is right. There is a major class war going on in the US and you haven't seen anything yet. Instead of bathing in excess money, soon the US people will be fighting to see who loses their life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness. Will the US people wake up and realize the sins committed by the republican leadership and react violently against them like other countries have? Or will the US have 95 per cent of their people brutally ruled like a third world country while others live like kings? That is the battle and what may be at stake.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  162. Terry E.

    We are enslaved by fear, ignorance and loop-sided economics... awaiting emancipation...

    April 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  163. Diaron Calloway

    yes, this country has always been divided but now there are divisions on several fronts such as: politics, race, sexual orientation,class, religion, and now sadly education.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  164. steve - virginia beach

    Obviously yes. Multiculturalism and socioethnocentricity are incompatable with equality and the melting pot that America is supposed to be. And I'm still waiting fo that post-partisan Washington we were promised. And wonder if the media will stop kowtowing to their selected groups and politicians and go back to hiring real joirnalists... you know, who, what, when, where, then on to the next news item type?

    April 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  165. Scott Lucas

    He's right, but he doesn't know it or if he does and he's is hiding it. Jack the war in the US is the Super Rich & Corporate America vs. the middle class. Who is controlling the government? Corporate America, the rich. Failure to understand this and your missing what is really going on.
    The Government is protecting them and not the middle class.
    The most important thing in America is the value of Corporate Stock on the market, not the employee, their benefits bonuses or anything that takes away from Corporate Profit.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  166. Armando

    This must be the beginning of the end.
    Both political parties(including the rebels of the Tea party) have lost the compass of the nation, when reelection becomes more important than the interest of the country.
    Democracy demands dialog and refuses tirany, and we are living the tirany of the political parties.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  167. Stanfrisco

    Absolutely! The polarity of humanity is perpetual and immortal!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm |