Still 'One nation, indivisible?'
0 comment Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |
The Elephant in the Room
by Anne E. Kornblut
This New York Times article deals with the widening rift between Republicans and Democrats, roughly corresponding to 'left' and 'right' in America, and the stunting of real exchange of views between political enemies. It's become so bad that family members are often estranged from each other, and friendships are destroyed.
Invariably someone will protest that the situation isn't that bad, but in my experience it is very much 'that bad.' One of my friendships, with a college classmate from years back, has been very strained due to our polarizing political views. Although we have often had extended conversations about everything under the sun, and have had many truly stimulating and inspiring exchanges on various subjects, as our political views diverged, we are now no longer able to discuss things beyond the superficial level. That seems a great loss to me. And I have family members, devout left-liberals, who become near-apoplectic when the subject of politics comes up. Now keep in mind that I don't attempt to provoke anyone by bringing up sensitive issues on which I know I differ with them; usually they introduce the controversial subjects in a kind of 'I dare you to respond' fashion. And when I do respond, in my outspoken way, I am 'mean-spirited'. It all ends with raised blood pressures and resentments and a resulting loss of closeness. As a result, there is a lot of walking on eggshells and self-censorship going on; this is not the way it should be among family members or longtime friends.
How and when did it get this way? That could be the subject of a full-length book; a mere blogpost can't cover it. But by my reckoning, it started really with the late 60s/early 70s leftist counterculture, wherein the youthful generations began to repudiate everything their parents and grandparents, and all their forebears, stood for. America became 'AmeriKKKa', and was 'prejudiced', imperialist, oppressive, 'chauvinistic', and later on, as new terms of abuse were coined, America was declared guilty of being 'racist', 'sexist' and 'homophobic.' And now the new crime of Islamophobia has been invented, so as to proclaim America guilty of that. And 'nativist' and 'xenophobic' are new additions to the litany of American crimes.
Now, along comes 'conservative' Brit-turned-American Andrew Sullivan, who rails against 'Christianists'
who are the latest threat to America.
The 'generation gap' seemed to widen in the 70s, with many of the baby-boom generation bitterly denouncing their parents and traditional America in all its forms. When Richard Nixon was accused of approving of the Watergate break-in, lefty baby-boomers became a kind of howling mob denouncing him as the equivalent of Hitler, and baying for his impeachment or worse. I remember a common graffito of that time: 'Off Nixon', the word 'off' meaning to kill. This kind of hysterical, extreme rhetoric became commonplace among the younger generations, and thus we had a ratcheting-up of the divisive rhetoric.
This continued into the 80s, when Ronald Reagan became President; I remember many of the lefties had an obsessive hatred and a deranged loathing of Reagan. Why? His amiable persona hardly seems likely to inspire the kind of hate directed at him by the Left. Still, at this time, it was mostly the fringe left, the anti-war left, that promulgated most of the rabid rhetoric. The Democrat Party itself, although it had been considerably pulled to the left by the McGovernites in 1972, still maintained some decorum in the public debate. But the real hatefulness of the left came to a crescendo during the Clinton years. As Clinton's various misdeeds began to provoke opposition and criticism from more conservative and traditional Americans, the Clintonistas responded with the kind of vitriol, the kind of 'take-no-prisoners' attitude which had animated the 'hate-Nixon', anti-war college lefties of the 70s. And no coincidence, because in most cases it was the very same people who had been part of the far-left during the 60s and 70s who now were part of the political establishment, and were in high places. The Clintons themselves had been part of the far-left, and had simply adopted the guise of 'establishment' types, shedding the long hair and the ragtag style of dress for a more respectable look.
Such was one of the strategies of the left; not all of them believed that 'taking it to the street' or to the barricades was the effective way to make revolution; the belief was that it was preferable to 'change things from the inside', adopt the outward trappings of mainstream, establishment America while inwardly rejecting and subverting it. The Gramscian communists believed that the 'long march through the institutions', the media, academia, churches, and political parties, was the way to go. And it seems they believed correctly, because it's evident that they have been successful in taking control over all those institutions to a great degree. Even the Republican Party, I am convinced, has its Gramscians.
So the Democrat Party of today, which is a mutated form of the old Democrat party before it was McGovernized and Clintonized, is now considerably farther left than it was even a generation ago. As the older generations died off, and the society is dominated by mostly baby-boomers, the party scarcely resembles that of the pre-1970 era. And the puzzling thing is that many of the Democrats I know seem not to notice that their party has moved so far left, embracing many positions that would have mortified the older generations of Democrats. There are no longer any 'Scoop Jackson Democrats', (not even Joe Lieberman) or Harry Truman Democrats, or even JFK Democrats. But this metamorphosis seems to escape the notice of many Democrats.
And as the Democrats become increasingly leftist, often anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-tradition, they further alienate the many heartland Americans who have not been converted to leftism. The liberals' extremism predictably provokes a harsh reaction from many more traditional Americans, and the hostility escalates. The media and many people in both parties often sound the alarm about 'extremism', by which they usually mean right-wing politics: nationalism and other such 'reactionary' sentiments, but they refuse to see that the extreme position of the left-liberals and their media wing simply pushes many people further to the right. As more traditional conservative views are denounced and banished beyond the pale, more extreme reactions will probably occur. At present there is hardly any place where old-fashioned conservative views are even allowed to be heard, outside the Internet and the blogosphere. Here in America, we have blessedly not yet seen the harsh laws which Europe and other Western countries have put in place, banning 'hate speech' which usually means any non-PC viewpoints. But as we creep toward that kind of PC totalitarianism, the true conservative viewpoint will increasingly be proscribed and shut down, as in Europe, where true conservatism is becoming a rare bird.
But why have the liberals in America become so increasingly bitter and venomous? It seems to me that they are winning; they have traditional America on the ropes. They have a stranglehold on the media, including both the news media and the entertainment media.
It would seem that they should be resting on their laurels and gloating over their liberal paradise which they have created in America: our borders wide open, a polyglot tower of Babel in the making, gay 'marriage' being forced on us; a feminized military, moral standards all but destroyed, and white Americans, that 'source of all evil', soon to be a minority. So why are they so angry and bitter?
Maybe that's something for the headshrinkers to explain. I can only conjecture that they are chronically bitter and alienated people, who are furious that the world does not conform to their visions of utopia, and convinced that if they could only force their ways of thinking and living on every last soul in the world, we would have heaven on earth, and 'the world will be as one'. The world will never be perfect, and human beings are not perfectible. That means liberals will perpetually be carrying a bitter grudge against the world and God and nature.
Meantime, they cannot brook any opposition or any exception to their dogmatic, rigid ideas, and they want to silence or destroy those who don't see things their way. They have decided that all differing opinions are evil, and must not be allowed to exist.
But another factor in this polarization and bitterness is that the right is now caught up in this good-vs.-evil Manichaean worldview, and unfortunately the actions of the left-liberals seem to confirm the suspicion that they are enemies of all that is good. How else can one view a philosophy that sympathizes with the most depraved of murderers and other criminals, or makes excuses for not only crime but terrorism, or which hates the mention of God and seeks to quash free speech in the name of 'tolerance'? Left-liberalism often seems to be consciously allying itself with the dark side. On the other hand, liberals, in their alternate universe, think that the only sins or crimes are 'intolerance' (especially 'racism') and 'hypocrisy', which usually means upholding any traditional morality. So in their strange universe, 'right-wingers' are the only bad guys, while they are the defenders of all that is good: their imaginary rainbow utopia of tolerance and diversity and peace and love.
Another factor: maybe there is an element of 'displacement' in this left-right dichotomy. All of us, whether we are aware of it or not, are experiencing a certain amount of disruption in our lives with all the dizzying change in America over the last decade, especially. Our country's population is growing by leaps and bounds, and that is not all good. Many people are feeling like strangers, as others with vastly different cultures and languages crowd in on our neighborhoods and towns. Many people are uprooting themselves in order to find the quality of life they have always known, as immigration changes everything around them. There is an accelerated level of change. This is disorienting and stressful; it's human nature to feel stressed by all this change, especially when it is out of our control, and is being imposed on us for reasons we don't comprehend. Yet we are not allowed to complain about this, or question it: we are 'racist' and 'hateful' if we are distressed or angry about it. We are supposed to welcome and 'celebrate' the changes, unsought though they are.
We are supposed to shut up and get used to it. We are PC-whipped into silence and acquiescence. Yet I say that this goes against our grain, as Americans. We are the children of a competent, strong, independent nation of people; pioneers, settlers, conquerors, and yet we are being shoved aside and expected to submit. This is not a natural state of things for us. It is creating a huge dissonance in us. It is creating a pressure that will have to find an outlet sooner or later.
For now, however, as we are censored and intimidated from speaking our minds, and as we try to find distractions in amusements and possessions, we probably express our frustrations and anger in acceptable ways. So we do the easy thing: we turn on those close to us. Just as people who have stressful careers, in which they have little control, often take out their frustrations on family members, so too are we Americans turning on our fellow Americans. And yes, we have reason to get upset with each other because we have been turned into warring camps, with diametrically opposed ideals and beliefs. And it isn't just left-vs.-right: it's men vs. women, one race against the other (and all against whites), the poor vs. the rich, and everybody against the middle class; gays vs. straights, and everybody against Christians. And on an international scale: everybody against Americans (even many of the Brits hate us, and they are our nearest cousins), and Americans who hate the French and the Brits, and so on.
I am sure this delights our common enemies in the Islamic world. They are no doubt laughing at our gullibility and weakness in not standing up to them in our countries, and they exploit our divisions within the West. Their very presence divides the West, as some gullible liberals side with them. The same with our Mexican invaders: their presence divides us, as some side with them, and denounce those who would defend our country.
I think our present PC world has exacerbated the tendency to divisions that already exist, and magnified them out of all proportion. We are so busy attacking and fearing each other that we cannot give due attention to the external threats we face. Our enemies love it this way.

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