That Antebellum Cultural Divide
Sometimes it’s the most seemingly innocuous thing that leads to bigger, badder things that come out of nowhere.
As I’ve mentioned before and friends on Facebook have hinted at in a couple of posts, there is a big cultural divide in the US that has turned our politics into one that caused the three week fiasco we barely managed to crawl out of last night.
It was plain and obvious for years that these type of seemingly innocuous statements were bigger than they seemed. They had the power to divide a nation and a people even as they seemed so simple and ineffectual.
It’s common to hear conservatives say things like Paul Ryan did during the campaign: “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.” Liberals shrug most of the time when they hear such rhetoric. It sounds like an empty platitude, much like praising the troops or waving the flag, that makes audiences feel good but doesn’t actually have any real-world importance. What liberals don’t understand, however, is that what sounds like an empty platitude actually signifies an elaborate, paranoid theory on the right about sneaky liberals trying to destroy America, a theory that is being used to justify all manner of incursions against religious freedom and separation of church and state.
Perhaps these sentiments the right wing has been fomenting would be ineffective in another country with a different history.
But it is our history and our story which is the foundation this catalyst is working on. This Us vs Them rhetoric isn’t really dividing us – we were always divided. We are a nation strongly divided not just philosophically but geographically. The lines have already been drawn. They were drawn before the Civil War.
That’s what the Us vs Them rhetoric keeps bringing up – that over a hundred year old divide.
Yeah, we have a huge cultural problem. Some argue it is just the selfish Boomer generation’s final throes. I posit that this problem is a much deeper problem that was never resolved even after a hundred and fifty years.