“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” — Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
Like a dog worrying a soup bone, I can’t seem to let it go. While I had planned to only write a three-part series regarding “A House Divided,” the enormity of the issue won’t let go of me, so I can’t let go of it. Indeed I have tried, and if you, gentle reader, are tired of hearing from me about our deeply divided nation, you can stop reading right here, and I won’t be mad at you.
But some truths are self-evident, and therefore must be stated.
Of course there are readers who will posit that I’m simply upset that the candidate I preferred didn’t win the presidency last November, and extrapolate from that outcome that my complaints are merely sour grapes, but it’s not that the demagogue won — it’s what he exposed about our nation in the process of winning and afterwards that is dispiriting and critically important.
I don’t think anyone really knew how deeply divided our nation was until the horrible incidents occurred at Charlottesville, and the response on the right to that ugliness.
While Trump’s elevation to the presidency lifted up a rock, Charlottesville showed us what has slithered out from under it. But still, that in and of itself is not the real crux of the matter, not by a long shot. The real issue isn’t the small band of skinheads and haters that burned torches during that episode; they’ve always been around. It’s the abject silence of the 40 percent of Trump-supporting Americans that stood mute when this demonstration of proto-fascism unfolded. Their silence spoke volumes in regards to how regressive the thinking of many on the right happens to be, and it’s not going to change. Indeed, it will only worsen.
What we might have once suspected, we now know in no uncertain terms, and sentient individuals, when confronted with new information, adjust their thinking accordingly. Truth will always out — but we have to pay close attention to it.
The response on the right to Charlottesville was my “aha” moment, the moment I came to the realization that we will never be able to bridge the chasm between far-right conservatives and left-leaning progressives. The rupture is too deep; the differences between political opinions too wide for us to ever settle — let alone close enough for us to continue to make progress as one country. Our differences now far supersede our national self-interests.
Our national foundation is eroding under our feet but hubris and a false sense of national pride prevents us from realizing it. As a country we have never “lost” (unless you count Vietnam) so we don’t know how to recognize the signs — but they are all around us.
The national discourse has been acrimonious for years, but the level of disunity between our two warring political parities has steadily grown to the point of gridlock. It’s all but impossible to get the nation’s business done, as we’ve become a worldwide laughingstock in the process. Yet we continue to only listen to our own echo.
Even our national pastimes (where we could root for or against a team in a semi-friendly manner) are now playing fields of bitter contention. The right will rise up virtually in unison when athletes protest racial injustices by bending a knee at a football game, but obviously this demographic finds no fault in the rising tide of totalitarianism that is destined to tear the country apart.
Our problems are historical, and of long-standing. Indeed, the Pledge of Allegiance contains outright lies: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Let’s start by asking Native Americans what they think of that slogan before we get to the opinions of Americans of African descent. This patriotic paean that stirs the hearts of most Americans never was true, and, in point of fact, we’re moving further away from those expressed ideals day by day.
And as for the National Anthem, it contains these lines, referencing runaway slaves:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Nonetheless black Americans are supposed to sing right along, just as we’re expected to whistle “Dixie” when the traitorous flag of the failed Confederacy is waved in our faces. We now know that a large percentage of Americans are simply waiting — and rooting — for the “South to one day rise again” which is nothing but a euphemism for white supremacy.
From the debate over guns, to abortion, to healthcare, to the death penalty, to how we secure our borders, to — you name it, and the two Americas vehemently disagree on it. This makes it clear that our own “two-state solution” is the only logical answer to the conundrum — that is, if we want to avoid the fate of other nations that have been relegated to the dustbin of history.
America will eventually split into two countries, or fail as one.
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.com.