American citizens aren’t getting along anymore; the political, economic, and ideological animosity has evenly divided us. Remembering the unity, solidarity of growing up during World War II, I find this culture of hostility almost reckless.
Our dangerously-wide separation of people certainly emerged before the final stretch of last year’s presidential race when everybody assumed Hilliary Clinton would win with landslide proportions. Massive shock, awe, unacceptance…followed.
In fact, this writer would place the birth of new “breach” around 1987 – when Federal Judge Robert Bork was nominated for the United States Supreme Court by then President Ronald W. Reagan. An early role by Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, with his brief book, Biden Report; was indicative of how excruciatingly political opposition began the downward spiral. It emerged into a surprisingly nasty time.
If readers wish to go all-out academically – even theological – you can find much of this “breach”, or what Frances FitzGerald’s (THE EVANGELICALS –The Struggle to Shape America) signals as “separationism”. Bearing fruit in an all-but-forgotten aspect of the conservative Protestant religious experience, it played out in Dayton, TN, 1925 – a very disagreeable exhibition known as the Scopes trials. Recalling the Stanley Kramer adaption of Inherit the Wind, the more fundamentalist “locals” received an dreadful portrayal.
Historically, one must go back to the post Civil War period (1876-1896) to find the split of the American spirit – thus American culture.
The outright venomous hate today – take the Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show tirade which even social media found appalling – generates cases even within church congregations, clearly those with partisan leadership. Ostensibly, one can view a persuasive geographic breach within mainland America (West Coast plus North Eastern U.S. vs. the South, Southwest, and an impressive portion of the Mid-West). Alone, California gave Ms. Clinton a 3 million plus vote plurality – thus, the majority national vote. Not to mention a significantly uneven geographic distribution of opportunity.
Pouring the syrup of elitism, educational arrogance, academic stridency, and one’s self-referential condescension, plus unflinching intolerance; corroborates a sensible Glen Beck (radio/TV) observation: we’re so cocooned in this country; we are not welcomed in each other’s world (05/01/17) at all.
Recently, a Los Angeles Times piece by Sarah D. Wire cheered on Rep. Maxine Waters for her full frontal attack on the current president. Waters has become an exhilarating “Auntie Maxine” in the Age of Trump. She’d refused to attend the January inauguration (along with a number of Virginia congressmen), advocating early impeachment proceedings. James Comey’s FBI “had no creditability.” “Auntie Maxine” sure does tell it like it is”, whimpered Ms. Wire.
Then, the New York Times published a debut op-ed column by the newly-hired Bret Stephens, which simply requested climate change be evaluated with some additional measurements. Its loyal readership turned furious – in some cases, angrily canceling their NYT subscriptions. Diversity of opinion is now being attacked…at the Times?
In the same newspaper, we discover an observation from W. Kamau Bell, in his new book(The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell): Whenever I tell people in Berkeley, CA, where I live….that I’m headed to the beach in Alabama, they are shocked….But no one has taken us up on the invitation yet, because of one problematic word: Alabama. ….I have discovered that when your are black, saying ‘ I’m headed to the South’….is like saying I’m headed to my own lynching and I decided to bring the rope just to make it easier on the Klansmen….and if there was ever a time that we all should take a trip to the other parts of American and spend some time to get to know the people there, it is now. So, who wants to come with me to (Alabama)?
Author Bell pegged the distrustful depth, bringing a personalized invitation to address it. My guess is that this is the kind of action that it is going to take….from everyone everywhere.
Individually, we have morphed into a sad, isolated, separated U.S. citizenry, totally taken up with small screens, machines, opinions, surrounding ourselves with those who bring succor to predisposed views. As bonfires of vanities rage on, mercenaries and missionaries share equally.
It has, and will continue to make us socially impaired….haunting any genuine successful attempt for reunion. We’ve created this….and only we can start fixing it.