“What is the Continental Divide?” my wife said.
A natural question. We were standing Tuesday at the “Continental Divide Overlook” at Eldorado Canyon State Park in Colorado. I wish language allowed me to convey the view — even a photograph would fall short. A sweeping, 50- mile wide panorama, starting, to the left, with the snow-capped Rockies, unfolding through pined mountainsides, distant valleys and rock gorges that set me pondering a possible connection between “gorge” and “gorgeous.”
I puffed the dust off my high school geology. “It refers to drainage,” I said. “The Rocky Mountains form a ridge, north and south. A drop of rain falling on the west side will, eventually, make its way to the Pacific Ocean. On the east, to the Atlantic.”
Hiking back down, the words “continental divide,” echoed in my head in a way that has nothing to do with hydrology. The United States is one of the few nations on earth that spans a continent. And we sure are divided, big time.
What divides us? Race, class, religion. Politics form the most gaping division right now. The differences are sharper than ever, with the Republicans firmly anti-government, pro-business, anti-immigrant, pro-white, anti-gay, pro-religion, anti-women (though they would argue they support women by making their difficult moral choices for them). And the Democrats pretty much the opposite....
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