Right or left, conservative or liberal, white or minority, pro or anti choice, old or young, male or female, college or high school educated, smoker or non-smoker, religious or not, healthy or ill, rock & roll or country, etc. are basic demographic sorters. There is nothing that does not have an opposite side.
When we, as people, are segregated into special-interest factions, our information options are narrowed through chosen formats until the argument is unrecognizable. As long as some can identify with a strategy segment, enough are willing to ‘go along.’ Our population is managed that easily.
Hyphens, meant to differentiate, have become divisors to keep one collection of society separate from another. The media ramps up the dynamic by singling out hyphens to ‘prove’ their slant on a story. When we’re through feeling ‘hard-done-by’ the blame goes to the hyphen we visualize. Through fear and ignorance, the country still has plenty of ugliness, but continuing to fall prey to special-interest scapegoating reduces our options to address any dilemma on its merits.
Hyphens are not exempted in ambiguous phrases like Reagan’s ‘A thousand points of light’ and Obama’s ‘Let me be clear.’ Hyphens don’t get more or different, but an equal share of the consequence of poorly designed policy.
America has a choice: Accept our fractured hyphenated society as ‘good enough’ or have the guts to put aside petty separateness and seek the commonality we share. ‘Good enough’ is the only option when we cannot learn to think as ONE nation.