The Great Divide

>> Wednesday, November 09, 2016

There will be a lot of nonsense now about the need for the country to come together, how we are all Americans, how our strengths are greater than our divisions.  It's nonsense because it's all based on what is increasingly obviously a false premise: we obviously aren't all Americans, all united, all one people.

We are tribes, one confederation of which embraces a seething resentment and fear of modernity and change.  Many of my friends and family reduce this to race or gender, but I think the racism and misogyny are symptomatic of a deeper fear and loathing.  The confederacy hates minorities and despises women because minorities and women "no longer know their places"; thus this animosity is part and parcel of a fear of immigrants, a distrust of science, a strong attraction to parochialism and tradition.  They hate gays and atheists for about the same reason: nostalgia for a time when both remained in the closet.  They cannot comprehend that they are becoming increasingly alien in their own land as the world moves towards diversity and cooperation, and so embrace infantile conspiracy theories.

They are right and have been right about one thing: there is a culture war.  They are besieged.  The naiveté of liberals like myself was to think that the Obama presidency and Obergefell decision and similar events of the past ten years were sufficiently fatal; that what remained of their ilk were mere pockets of resistance.  Holdouts like the Japanese soldiers you used to still hear about when I was a kid, stranded on remote desolate islands in the South Pacific, tensely unaware that World War II ended thirty years prior....

We were wrong.

They remain strong enough to mount a sortie--more than a sortie: we can expect, I think, for most of Obama's legacy to be stripped away before he's even fully settled into his post-Presidency.  They will get their Supreme Court Justice, they will get their repeal of the Affordable Care Act, they will dismantle all of his accomplishments but the one they can't take away (that he was--and, oh, they would take that one away, too, but if they could; they would edit him from the photos and dump his press down the memory hole until the record of him was nothing but the oddest collection of pictures of empty rooms and landscapes occasionally occupied by approved persons with their heads cocked towards empty spaces as if listening to ghosts).

Well, I'm not with them, and I refuse to be.  We'll do things the way they wanted.  I don't really know how, yet; this post may be nothing but a futile rave, a childish tantrum, an old man shaking his fist at clouds.  But I'm not living in their America, I'm not their American, and I want their world destroyed.

It's caused enough goddamn misery already.  I'm sick of being nice about it.

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