November 23, 2012

US more divided than ever?

Author Gyasi Ross talks with someone named Dennis at an airport:

Divisiveness, Drunken Pilots And Kim Kardashian: A Pigeon-toed Indian Pontificates About The 2012 Elections

By Gyasi RossDennis retorted. “You know what I see? What was your name again? Thank you. Gyasi, I see divisiveness. I see a country divided and this is probably the most divided this country has ever been.”

He continued, “If Obama had shown more of a willingness to be conciliatory, maybe it wouldn’t be like this. I’m not saying that the Republicans have been perfect, but the country was never divided like this under a Republican president. Bush, Bush, Reagan, you name him—it wasn’t like this.”

I tried to emulate Dennis. He set an amazing example of how to listen, even when you thought the other person was full of fecal matter. I held my tongue—channel Dennis—as he concluded.

“If this nation continues with this divisiveness, this country is going toward a really destructive path. Obama should be the person to bring us together, yet he’s tearing us apart.”

Now mind you: I’m not an Obama apologist: I think that he’s a very good president that can be great. At this moment in time, he’s far from great and, although he has been exemplary in his understanding of Tribal issues, has made some decisions that I wonder what the heck he’s thinking. I’m also not a Democrat apologist: they have many of the same flaws, in the big picture, as the Republican Party. At this point, Dennis was so nice that I didn’t necessarily want to offend him or be brisk with him. Still, facts are facts, and the notion that Obama is the cause of the divisiveness in the nation is not something that I was prepared to silently let ride.

I thought about it—how can I be diplomatic, yet honest, to this handsome, yet ridiculously dishonest, man?

“Dennis, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think you’re completely off—I respect your opinion, but not your history. Let me explain. I think I can honestly say that my reading of history shows that the nation has always been divided. The only thing is that rich, white dudes like yourself didn’t have to care about us poor people’s side of the divide before. Dennis…seriously? Never been this divided? Unless there was a huge hoax, like the reports that we landed on the moon, this country had a civil war with hundreds of thousands of Americans killed. That’s pretty divided, I’d say. I also think that the country was fairly divided when your people massacred thousands of Natives at any particular massacre site. I could name a few. Believe it or not, us Natives—as much as we seem to like white stuff—didn’t agree with those massacres of women and children. I also suspect that black folks did not agree with slavery or Japanese people with internment camps. But maybe the country’s citizens weren’t divided because Natives and blacks weren’t citizens yet.”

“But seriously, that doesn’t seem divided to you? Yet now, because a few white rednecks want to secede because babies are getting treated by a doctor and a black man told that doctor to treat those babies, the country is the most divided it’s ever been? I can’t really see that one, Dennis.”
Comment:  Yeah, I think the Civil War--when the country was literally divided in two--was more divisive than the current split. And I suspect we could find more moments in US history when the country was just as divided.

For instance, the first few years of the Republic, when the western territories threatened to secede. Or the 1990s, when Clinton barely survived impeachment and Gore barely beat Bush in the popular vote.

Considering the Tea Party arose about five minutes after the scary black man entered the White House, Dennis's complaints are silly. Who was marching in the streets comparing Obama to a dictator or a terrorist before he'd actually done anything? The same people who wanted to secede after Obama won reelection. Carping conservative crybabies, that's who.

So when white men complain about "change," "divisiveness," or the loss of "traditional values," we know what they're really talking about. Their privileged status is eroding and they don't like it. They want to hold all the wealth and power, not share it.

For more on the subject, see White Men Lose to Demographic Change and America's "Bootstrap Theocracy."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I think the country is only divided as those that accept America's multi-cultural changes and those that cling to Anglo rule and it should be obvious which America is succeeding as majority now. The only divisions I see, are the racists screaming for continued white privilege and blaming Obama for surfacing their racism.