Post #: 041917 – Words: 1372 – Audio: N/A
In a revolt civility becomes the first casualty.
Various news media have been reporting on the rather apparent descent into a level of political incivility within the last 24 -48 hours, what with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders being asking to leave a Virginia restaurant because she worked for the President… Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi being booed out of a Tampa movie theater because of her stance on immigration and health care… and then as a chaser, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D) called into a crowd to push back on members of the Trump administration in public places, like restaurants, stores, and gas stations. It would suggest that the mood of the country, agitated even more recently by Trump’s zero tolerance and child separation from their parents seeking asylum at the border, has grown more confrontational.
I’ve oft made the comparison in my blogs and in commenting on other blogs that our current political mood and the nation’s overall divisiveness encouraged by Trump is really not as “bad” as were the days of 1968-69. Recently a couple news sources have done specials reflecting back on the year, 1968, as having been the most critical, socially and politically turbulent year in the 20th century. In those days the nation was considered very divisive also… but largely for changing social ideologies from our Greatest Generation parents and national leaders to the new baby boomer counter culture of less stringent morality and freedom of expression. Also, the anti-war fervor between the young less inclined to fight and die for the old concepts and ideals from WW2 and the Cold War. Add to that, the exploding civil rights movement. All of this were factors in the increase of civil unrest in the streets.. which all percolated into the political scene as older generation politicians tried to identify with the younger generation to try and regain some social control.
I bring this comparison to 1968 up again to illustrate that while it seems like things couldn’t get more crazier than they are now.. well, they can and they likely will far more worse than what it seems now. Yes, the country is politically divisive at the present.. but so far none of this has yet traveled to the streets in open violence. But just because the forces that brought my generation into the streets in peaceful and violent protests, and outright riots, back in 1968 are not yet visible now.. there does seem to be a slow boil in the air, and we need to be careful and act with measured protest and not emotional outbursts.
What’s different this time around is that our current struggle is not between the old and the young in some grand social transition being fed by our college campuses. There is no tragic and ongoing unpopular war causing the deaths of 500 American soldiers a week. There is no urban economic and social struggle with black Americans seeking social and political equality, and civil rights. The nation’s current divisiveness is essentially between adults of voting age… of a middle age in the middle working class, and strangely between those same aging baby boomers from 1968 watching an international racial influence brought on by global economics, and a subsequent surge in religious and cultural… and linguistic… diversity. In other words, the country is becoming less white privileged… less identifiable with the ethnicity of the Founding Fathers.
Government stats are indicating that we are in a demographic period where more whites are dying than are being born here in America. Likely within the next 30 years the United States will become a minority majority; no single ethic race will dominate the population anymore… and that is absolutely scaring many Americans. New religions are popping up in our communities, new traditions, new languages… even new forms of dress and new shades of skin. Advertising, the forms you fill out to apply for jobs, to get government aid, are all printed in multi-languages. When calling a business or government agency on the phone you have to “press one” to get English… and the real person on the other end speaks English with some unidentifiable accent. It’s no wonder the country is in such a confused turmoil. It’s no wonder people are wondering, “Where did MY America go?”. Also, it’s no wonder understanding how someone like Trump got elected by a minority of the popular vote. His “Make America Great Again” slogan was interpreted by his base as reading, “Bring White America Back Again”.
Now, is America, in some form, drifting away, vanishing, economically failing? That’s an interesting paradox to all this. True, we still have a helluva deficit, but at the time of Obama’s second term, and through today, the country has seen, and is seeing, a great economic recovery from that financial plunge experienced when Obama first entered office. In the last year alone unemployment is at some record low and the markets are staying stable in spite of Trump’s new trade wars brewing.
In certain government circles it’s been generally recognized that even though Trump won in those economically struggling red states, the current divisiveness is less about some regional economic anxiety and much more about international racial bias. That has translated into a perceived loss of influence and privilege feeding that bias. Social and economic changes that occur in short time spans, in a decade or two, can be quite gut-wrenching to some. Add to it the explosion in economic globalization we’ve experienced that his kicked started our own economic recovery, it’s rather understandable many Americans are feeling left behind.
Given all that, it’s also a bit understandable that many Americans want to fight to preserve the old ways.. or in the least, slow the changes. It’s rather like sandbagging; someone like Trump comes along and says the problems are runaway immigration; runaway illegal drugs entering the country; foreign countries not helping us, not paying their way on treaties, not playing far on international trade. It doesn’t really matter if all that is true or not, but people want to believe that there’s a “villain” to defeat that is upsetting their lives. Vote for Trump and your rusty factories will re-open and your coal mines will come alive!
The reason that there is a Trump’s version of “republicanism” is because his goals and agendas spill over across both traditional party ideologies. There is no way on earth that Trump alone had any sort of inside knowledge that all his agenda items were relevant or not… and much less would he have any idea how effective his changes might be one way or the other if he passed any. It mattered not that the bulk of manufacturing in those red states closed or re-located due to efficiencies, like automation and robotics. They all didn’t go overseas or close because of trade imbalances. More to the point, common sense tells you that few, if any, are returning. But it sounded good to a frustrated base seeing their world go by.
One talking head recently said it this way… “You may think your rights are being taken away when it’s just the leveling of a greater playing field..” He went on to further suggest… “The Trump administration is making us decide how we want to be as a nation in the future.” That’s certainly a lesson to derive from all this, but it will not be easy. Yeah, there’s a revolt going on and our civility is being tested. We have a President who is only president for his base; not anything inspirational or hopeful coming from him; he’s no national cheerleader. In fact, it’s just the opposite. He feeds the nation’s angst, alienates everyone, and is a poster child if anyone is looking for an example of a political kamikaze… except he’s taking us down with him.
In the end all we have is our vote. Make it so.
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