Beyond the Cusp

September 8, 2017

Identity Politics also Morality Politics

 

The new form of politics asks simple questions hoping to illicit simple answers and push votes without much thinking. They ask the obvious as those are the questions which require no deep thought. Do you care for the poor? Do you want to improve education? Do you care about equality? Do you want the country to flourish? Do you support the military? Do you support funds for saving the animals? Do you support the symphony orchestra? Do you support more libraries? Do you support immigrant assistance programs? Do you feel for the children? You know the entire gambit of questions and both sides of the political spectrum have their pet programs and the questions to match. The candidates know which questions to use framing the people by groups and their particular preferences. They tailor their speech for each group with their handlers to keep them on message. Politics has become a game of words and specific realities on which each side preys. Love of country, love thy neighbor, help the poor, support equality and the terms go on and on and we hear them repeated often by the same people every election. The same campaigns keep the same people in office where they build up huge campaign chests making their reelection more likely term after term and the people ask why things seldom change. When challenged about their own representative who has been in office for three, four, five or more terms; the reply is that they are not the problem. So, if each individual Representative and Senator is not the problem but the government is dysfunctional, then somewhere there must be a problem.

 

Politics have slowly been evolving to the point where one can have their lives destroyed if they supported the wrong candidate. Then the questions become charges. Instead of do you care about, it becomes you do not care. Instead of do you support, it becomes you hate and do not care. Then it becomes we do not want your kind in our neighborhood and the people stop speaking to those who are the forbidden, the ones who voted wrongly. You can have voted wrongly even if your candidate won which has become excessively evident on social media. Friends break up over politics, marriages end over politics, people lose their jobs over politics though that is always couched differently as we saw recently at Google. Politics has become almost a team sport and if you belong to the wrong team in an area which is predominantly made up by the other side, you can lose everything for which you worked hard. This is the new reality in some places. One wonders if this is the same for both sides. How many people lost their job, friends, marriage or social standing because they voted for Hillary Clinton? How many people lost their job, friends, marriage or social standing because they voted for Donald Trump? From the postings we have witnessed on Facebook, there does appear to be a predominance of losses on one side compared to the other.

 

This is what identity politics is about. One must choose the correct politician or else they can be subjected to scorn and ridicule. The attacks can happen on social media, at work, in the neighborhood and even at home. Some of the most impossible cases are where husband and wife find themselves on opposite sides of the political field. They soon find they are starting to have different social circles and no friends in common. This can be a great strain on the relations and has caused some broken marriages. Those are some of the saddest results of the new politics where being on the wrong side becomes unforgivable. Some claim the reason for this new political fighting is due to the Internet and everybody retreating to reading only those web sites which represent their side. They enter a near universal echo chamber where everything they read, hear, and otherwise come into contact with represents reinforcement of their identity and moral political views. They thus move slowly but inexorably further to the extremes of their favored political views. Eventually, people end up so deeply entrenched that they cannot see the other side and reach the belief that everything depends upon their views being the predominant view represented in the government or else the government is oppressive. Suddenly the other side is not just a different viewpoint but they are the enemy. Now anything is permissible as it is war, not politics.

 

Politics used to be a discourse but now it is simply accusations and acrimony. Civility has left the building, they are putting up boxing rings, and we hear that next it will be laser tag or perhaps paintball wars or is shooting the next step in political debate? There are those who claim that the other side has taken up political assassination and they point to specific shootings to prove their point. The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords on one side and the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise on the other side are the poster politicians of shooting violence. Never mind what the truth was in either case because these had to be violence committed by the other side. Political violence is a volatile issue, the scars are slow to heal, and the belief that it had to be the other side never goes away. Politics has an initial victim, truth. Lies are what are told on the campaign trail, lies are told on social media, lies are told between people and lies are entrenched as part and parcel of the political atmosphere. The fact that both the shooter of Representative Giffords was Jared Lee Loughner, a sufferer from paranoid schizophrenia and whose reasons for the attempted assassination and murder of six people and the injuring of a dozen more were apolitical as he held little if any political leanings until 2007 when he suffered a personality transformation turning to become left wing, quite liberal and radical according to reports. James Hodgkinson was arrested for the shooting of Representative Scalise, had leftward leanings and asked the players on the field if they were the Republicans before opening fire. But these facts mean little in the political debate.

 

Representative Steve Scalise shooter James Hodgkinson at Protest

Representative Steve Scalise shooter James Hodgkinson at Protest

 

When it comes to politics, the truth is more malleable than Silly Putty and almost as fluid as water. Like Silly Putty, the subjects and positions can be twisted and molded to satisfy anyone from the most ardent supporter to the most neutral watcher of the polls and like water, politics will seemingly always flow to the lowest level. Some probably wonder whether politics can become any more dangerous or deceitful. We think that one we can answer and that answer is unfortunately, yes. We predict it will not only become more dangerous and deceitful but also sink to new lows and break apart many if not all the bonds which have held the United States together. There is a distinct danger that the rifts between the two main parties and the separate sides of the argument will simply continue drifting further and further apart until they can no longer see any middle ground upon which to meet and that will be the sign that the Second Civil War is imminent or the nations will break into separate nations as they will no longer share any common bond. Either result will be the end of the great American experiment but then there will be one bright result, the result if they break into separate nations will reestablish the federalized system where each can attempt to solve difficulties in their own style and whichever works best the others will be able to adopt, if their politics will permit such. There it is again, if their politics will permit such, how sad.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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