Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The tenuously United States of America

Yesterday's mid-term elections have highlighted one factor in particular:  the fact that the United States are only barely united, with many influences dividing her people.  A big part of that divide is urban versus rural;  people in the latter areas appear to be far more conservative and "traditional" than those in the former.  Since cities are growing at the expense of smaller towns and the countryside, that divide is going to favor them to an ever-increasing extent . . . but what about the rest of the country?  Can urban voters override rural ones, and expect to get away with it - or will that lead to a rebellion of some kind?

This is made worse by the fact that the major political parties differ only slightly, in relative terms, from each other in terms of policy.  Both are focused on power above all things, and both will pander to voters who can deliver that power to them.  That means both parties will increasingly focus on offering policies that appeal to the biggest block of voters in the country - the urban electorate.  Cold comfort for those living outside the larger cities . . .  Jeff Deist points out:

By any objective measure, the ideological and policy disagreements between the national Democrat and Republican parties are not significant. Both accept the central tenets of domestic and foreign interventionism, both accept the federal government as the chief organizing principle for American society, and both view politics simply as a fight for control of state apparatus.

Similarly, differences between policies actually enacted by Mr. Trump and the existing Congress and those likely to have been enacted by Mrs. Clinton and the same Congress are fairly small. While Mr. Trump alarms the Left with his tone and tenor, his actual views on taxes, spending, debt, trade, guns, immigration (the "Muslim ban" was neither) and war (unfortunately his good campaign rhetoric is largely abandoned) plainly comport with the general thrust of Clinton's neo-liberalism.

Today's ugly midterm elections are about style rather than substance, party rather than principle, and power rather than ideas. Americans do not much argue about whether we are governed by DC, and only slightly over how we are governed by DC. But we argue viciously about who governs us from DC.

There's more at the link.

The biggest problem is going to be how to maintain national unity as a people when our elected officials are displaying relentless, non-stop partisanship.  I fault both sides equally for this;  Republicans are no better than Democrats.  I trust neither party to put the country ahead of their bottomless thirst for power.  I also don't trust the so-called "Deep State", which has built up its power over generations, and isn't about to surrender it to elected officials without entrenched, massive, prolonged resistance.  All of us are likely to suffer as these conflicts play out.

What divides us has become more important to many than what unites us.  Victor Davis Hanson notes:

The various ties that bind us — a collective educational experience, adherence to the verdict of elections, integration and assimilation, sovereignty between delineated borders, a vibrant popular and shared culture, and an expansive economy that makes our innate desire to become well-off far more important than vestigial tribalism — all waned. Entering a campus, watching cable news, switching on the NFL, listening to popular music, or watching a new movie is not salve but salt for our wounds.

Again, more at the link.

I'll let Jeff Deist sum up the consequences.

America is barely a country at this point, defined only by its federal state. It is not a nation, lacking cohesion or commonality: we fight over history, the Constitution, the Electoral College and other constitutional mechanisms, immigration and birthright citizenship, not to mention sex, race, class, and sexuality. This utter politicization of American society — a Progressive triumph — is unsustainable over time.

In this environment, democratic voting and elections become an exercise of brute force — vanquishing the other side without resorting to outright violence and warfare.

. . .

We should acknowledge this, sooner rather than later, to avoid a catastrophe. Federalism and subsidiarity, applied with increasing intensity, are the non-violent path forward. Insistence on universalism, decided by a slight majority and applied top-down from DC, will fail here at home in the same way — and for the same reason — nation-building fails abroad.

It's going to be an interesting two years until the next elections . . .



Glen Filthie said...

There are a lot of left wing birds coming home to roost. People that raised and fed those things are now meeting the consequences of their actions in ever increasing numbers. You are much to prone to pessimism and fear, Pastor! There’s some good stuff happening out there.

If you’ll pardon me for sticking my long Canadian nose into your business, I think you guys did really well. I don’t see the divide as left vs. right, I see it more as working heritage America vs the elitists and globalists. The working man did pretty good: The economy is recovering. Troops are on the border to repel invading caravans of human trash, foreign aid and funding is slowly being cut to countries hostile to America, and your president is forcing his own party to act in American interests. It’s a start at least.

There are hidden blessings as well - looks like Stretch Pelosi will be speaker of the house again, if I understand your system correctly; Trump couldn’t ask for a better opponent. The Donks are literally having their feet held to the fire; they can either start representing working men and women and heritage Americans too, or they can continue to pander to foreign human trash, sexual degenerates, globalist billionaires and their Marxist flunkies. The last elections are proving the folly of that quite nicely. If the Donks can be dragged back into the game of making America great instead of trying to undermine it and betray it... life can only get better for everyone.

The cup is half full.

Jess said...

Maybe it's the destiny of the U.S. to have the next generation placed in servitude under Communism. If so, it's not because they weren't warned.

Rob said...

What bothers me the most is that 92% of the news on the MSM is negative to Trump. There is a very influential group in America that really does not like Trump.
All that power in that small hand, power with an agenda.

We used to all be in the same boat, America was a melting pot, we WERE Americans.
Somewhere not too far back we were told that diversity was better, told that a lot & it was believed. Separate groups, tribes, teams or neighborhoods are NOT in the same boat.

Someone with an agenda is tearing America into chunks.
I think it comes back to what Benjamin Franklin said "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately".
A divided America will be easier to hang....

LastRedoubt said...

As to partisanship, some are proclaiming to be against it and to be moderates to run against their "divisive" and "crazy" opponents, and yet the very claim of "my people/voters over my party" is provably bullshit without some severe jailhouse lawyering.

LindaG said...

The dem/commies will indeed continue to pander to the foreign trash, as Glen calls them; because they can enroll them as voters with nothing to stop them now.

The troops will not stay on the border, if the dems have their way, and I expect that pay raise will be cancelled as well, since they already promised to raise taxes.
While they are giving Medicare to everyone, I expect my costs will increase and my care will get worse.

No wall will be built, and ICE will be abolished.

Old NFO said...

I'm not sure we HAVE two years...

LindaG said...

Have to agree with you, NFO. All up to God.

Fredrick said...

"America is barely a country at this point, defined only by its federal state."
Like many Mr. Deist has forgotten that the US is not a unitary repubulic like France but a federal Republic. That's why "a mere 77,744 votes, in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, were enough to swing the difference ". The states are not about to give up power; or in the latest Democratic push, small states (Wyoming) having one of 2 Senators while poor old California has only too and millions more people (They never mentions Vermont giving a seat to Texas nor Rhode Island or New Hampshire at all.).

Fights over the Constitution and the electoral college are part and parcel of the Federal Republic. The fights over sex, race, class, and sexuality are mechanisms the left has been using for years that have helped undermine the collective notion of America as an aspirational society. That 'traditional' society has been under relentless assault from the left since at least the '60s (look what happened to the black family) and accelerated under Barack, who governed far to the left of where he campaigned. Trump has been a brief and effective response for the first time in a generation. The never Trumpers and estabilshment GOP never fought with much effort against that cultural shift as was seen yet again in Paul Ryan and the GOP's inept handling of this year's congressional races. Without Trump's campaigning it would have been much worse.