We are falling apart, becoming the Disunited States of America.
I have never seen anything like it before.
Red States, Blue States. Neighbor against neighbor.
Once shared American values have evaporated, like steam from a kettle. Everything — from our history and national identity, to our reliance on capitalism — is in flux. Nothing seems fixed. We are losing what we were, but what will we become?
If we don’t believe in American exceptionalism, if we don’t believe in democracy, what will we believe in?
Liberal humanism? The welfare state?
Some people swear that participation trophies build emotionally happy children. Other parents see them as destructive of initiative and competition, and unrealistic in the outside world, where just showing up is rarely the ladder to advancement. Is there a compromise between those two points of view?
COVID-19 killed almost 600,000 Americans. It also killed our belief in free markets as the government poured trillions into the pockets of Americans with no idea at all of how it would be repaid.
Maybe it won’t. Can we keep kicking the can down the street . . . Forever?
Can we keep borrowing from Peter to pay Paul? What happens when Peter goes broke? When I say borrowing from Peter, I mean taxing him.
Do we have enough millionaires and billionaires to keep us afloat? No cow gives milk forever.
Some Democrats make hay by telling people they won’t have to repay their student loans. Who doesn’t want to hear that — except maybe for the millions of people who did pay their student loans. Were they responsible people? Or were they suckers?
The immediate paycheck relief handout — which was necessary to keep Americans from starving (and maybe from rioting, a real possibility although I have heard no mainstream people say that) — is now being followed by “investing” in infrastructure, that somehow has been expanded to include free pre-K, elder care, and two-year college education, and perhaps dog-walking services. That last one’s a joke — I think.
“Why not?,” some people ask. Why not allow the government to provide a greater safety net? Critics say those freebies aren’t even necessities.
Well, how about the necessities?
Why not have the government pay for your groceries, your housing, your health care, your wardrobe? I have a friend who believes it should. (He is on the city payroll.)
Is socialism in our future? Might we be Karl Marx, or Groucho Marx?
The very notion of objective truth seems to have evaporated, replaced by the individual narratives of the aggrieved and the “marginalized.” (That’s a cliche word that needs to be retired.)
The Michael Brown “hands up’” narrative has proven to be a lie, but it persists. But truth denial is not just for minorities any more.
The majority of Republicans believe that the 2020 national election was stolen, when it was not.
It. Was. Not. Stolen.
If you believe that, absent any objective evidence, you are a stone moron. And a cancer on our civic body. Sorry to be harsh, but facts matter, even when they go against your cherished (insane) beliefs.
I’ve actually heard this: “The absence of evidence proves it was a conspiracy.”
At least the Tooth Fairy leaves money. This “rigged” belief is an empty vessel. If you think back, Donald J. Trump bleated and wailed that the last election was “rigged” — until he won. Then? Never mind, I never said it. Down Orwell’s Memory Hole.
On the other side we hear wild stories of “open season” on Black people, that there is an “epidemic” of police shootings of African-Americans, which actually have remained between 224 and 258 annually since 2015, according to the Washington Post database of police shootings. The number of white people killed by police ranges between 424 and 503. Twice as many white people are killed by police. I repeat, Twice as many white people are killed by police, but how many stories are written or broadcast about white victims? About zero, while just about every killing of an African-American goes national.
Yes, the number of whites killed is disproportionately low, but the numbers prove there is no “open season,” there is no “epidemic,” of Black people being killed by police. The number of Blacks killed by police in 2020 was 243, actually lower than the 251 killed in 2019.
The number of unarmed people killed by police is even lower, in the low double digits.
I have printed these figures before, to very little effect. The people who want to believe all cops are racist — even the Black cops — brush off the numbers like dandruff from their shoulders. They get some kind of sick joy out of their exaggerated victimhood.
In addition to racially, we are split politically and geographically.
Politically, polls asking people to identify themselves by political party show Democrats/left-leaning independents, 49%, with only 40% Republican/right-leaning independents. The 9% gap is larger than in recent years, probably thanks to Donald J. Trump, who has driven moderates away.
Geographically, as you know, Democrats are strongest along the coasts, generally speaking, while Republicans are strongest in the middle of the country. Democrats have their greatest strength in the teeming cities; Republicans in the vast rural areas.
I think it’s amazing it has taken as long as it has for these fissures to have developed.
Think of how different are the British and the French, and they are only 20 miles apart. One nation rarely lost a battle and the other has more cheeses than days in the year. One is socially rigid, the other is, um, laissez faire. Why should we expect Louisiana Cajuns and Chicagoans to be alike?
And they are not.
Language has always been part of the national glue holding us together. And that is why accommodating non-English speakers hurts us, and them. English should be the official language of the United States. Not to exclude, but to include. How better to state your cases, and your grievances?
Our Judeo-Christian heritage, once the bedrock for many of our political and social beliefs, is crumbling, witness the rise of the repellent critical race theory that reduces to a few words — white is evil and almost anything Eurocentric is bad.
Then there was our national story, of a great people taming a great continent, a story of independence and individualism, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Today, a good number of us paint America as the land of the slavers and the home of the cowards. Some of that it true.
What is not is that the nation was born in 1619. That is a politically-manufactured historical lie, a racist twisting of history. The birthdate of this country remains July 4, 1776. Blame us for everything following that. Blame the ruling Brits for anything earlier.
I’m not sure these disparate views can be reconciled.
Joe Biden isn’t the only politician who says betting against America is always a bad bet.
I’ve said it myself, but I’m not so sure he’s right.
Abraham Lincoln said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
The division he referenced was slavery. Are our divisions less destructive?