Chapter 63 – Happy New Year (1 / 1 / 19)
A new year has begun and we are reaching the climax of this unsettling drama we’ve been participating in since November 9 2016. Life is confronting me everyday with clues of what really matters in life. I am living the most challenging part of my life thus far. Each day brings me face to face with all of my worst fears. I’m being forced to consider what life will be like without several of the most important people in my life. What’s particularly interesting to me is that as I endure the struggle, the outpouring of love and support from friends, relatives and acquaintances transcends race, politics and religion. The love and support Yvonne and I have received is as strong from Trump supporters as from Anti-Trump supporters. What this tells me is that both sides sincerely believe they are the good guys. Since I have been receiving so much pro-Trump communiqués on Twitter, it has become clear to me that the political universe that I live in is in another galaxy when compared to those on the other side of the argument. As much as I disagree with almost any position Trump supporters that I know take on any issue, our friendship remains in tact. When the specter of death looms around you, a person’s politics becomes as inconsequential to your relationship with that person as the freckles and birthmarks hidden beneath the clothes on their backs. People you’ve laughed and cried and shared the juice of life with become like islands in a tempest at sea. You just hold on to them for dear life and any disagreements or enmity that existed between you in the past evaporates as though it never existed.
While there is a certain peace that comes with that, it doesn’t absolve us from the catastrophe we are headed for. The dichotomy of political realities in this country is a prescription for our mutual self-destruction. Only in fully understanding the political demographics and the real issues in play can we hope to avoid the tragedy. I’ve discussed these entities before but we must keep discussing them until the media on both sides begin to call the issues what they really are and not try to argue the issues as though they were the historically traditional political disagreements we’ve been accustomed to. Before we look at the issue(s) let’s review the numbers again.
While the numbers have remained consistent since 2016, we need to look at them from many different perspectives. When you look at it from the perspective of the electorate (meaning not the total number of different types of Americans there are but the percentage of Americans who actually vote), roughly 60% of the electorate is white and 40% are people of color from all other racial groups. Of the 60% white electorate, about two thirds are Republicans representing 40% of the total electorate. I know it seems like the white electorate is divided more like fifty-fifty Republican and Democrat, but that is due to the fact the most of the white Democrat electorate is generally better educated a far more enlightened than the average white Republican and consequently have more influence in all aspects of the media, including sports, news and entertainment. About half of the white Republican electorate is also well educated and enlightened in their own right, but the other half is mostly rural and not as well educated or enlightened and more inclined bow to tradition and what they have been told by their leadership rather than think for themselves. So the question is, if 40% of the electorate is non-white with probably 9 out of 10 of them voting either for Democrats or against Trump and 20% of the electorate being white Democrats voting for Democrats, how do Republicans keep winning? The answer lays in the fact that aside from the Electoral College (which give sparsely populated traditionally Republican states collectively as much clout as densely populated states), gerrymandered voting districts and voter suppression, Republicans vote in a solid bloc. Even though Republicans are in the minority of the electorate by a wide margin current law makes it extremely difficult to completely vote them out without getting a substantial number of Republicans to reject the status quo. That being the case, we must examine the Republican Party more closely to understand exactly whom we are talking about before we can hope to influence them to join us in avoiding the catastrophe we are in store for if our democracy comes to an end.
The first thing we must do is to avoid the mistake of associating the entire Republican Party with the most extremist elements of their party. About 5% of the people in the Republican Party (or 2% of the total electorate) are hardcore racists, who hate Jews, Muslims and all people of color with a passion and would murder us all in our sleep if they could. Because at the present time our country is being led by an amoral, opportunist, philanderer, who is more than willing use racist rhetoric to consolidate his popularity with the less informed of his so called base, the fascist bigots are the people we think of when we think of the Republican Party, because they have willingly provided a home for them in their party. In fact, most Republicans don’t consider themselves to be racist. And yet, they continue to support policies that are not only racist, but that are detrimental to the economy and security of our nation and undermine their own personal interest. Why is that?
To understand why, we must understand the one thing – the one thought – that binds them together when it comes to voting against the opposition, even when the vote is obviously against their own best interests. The thought is simply this: “America is a white, Christian country that belongs to white people”. That’s it. They don’t feel that way because they hate anyone else or don’t want anyone else to share in the American dream. They don’t mind you participating in America as long as you subscribe to all the traditions and practices that they consider to be all American. You must strive to talk like they do, act like they do, and if you really want to be accepted, join their Christian faith. In their minds, the founding fathers were literally theirfathers and did all they did for theirbenefit. They don’t allow for the fact that at the time this country was founded, the people of the times didn’t have the benefit of the science of genetics. People of those times felt that humanity itself was synonymous with white people. In their minds, nonwhite people were another spices of animal entirely and not at all human but instead humanoid at best. We know better today. They know better today. Still, today’s Republican sees defense of that archaic concept as grounds for war, and that’s what we have to understand about today’s Republicans. In their minds, they are at war with liberal progressives of all stripes, especially the Democratic Party. In that way we are living in the age of the extremist. Extremists, whether they be Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda or religious fanatics of all persuasions, live by the dogma of never compromise. Since the turn of the century our enemies have been primarily Middle Eastern religious extremists. Whoever said, “know your enemies well, for one day you’ll be just like them”, knew what he was talking about. The ethic we live by in almost every aspect of our lives is getting to be “death to anyone who disagrees with me on any level”.
It was not that America was white that made it great. It was the concept of freedom and justice for all that made it great. Prior to the French, and the subsequent American revolutions, the concept of equal justice for all didn’t exist. Until then, since the beginning of recorded human history, the world was governed by Hammurabi’s Code, which as Yuval Noah Harari (Author of the book Sapiens) put it, “established a pecking order of superiors, commoners and slaves. Superiors got all the good things in life. Commoners got what was left. Slaves got a beating if they complained”. In adopting the no compromise dogma that is the essence of war (which by its very nature exists to impose the aggressor’s will on the opposition without compromise), Republicans are unwittingly advocating for Hammurabi’s Code. The country that we are familiar with, and that is absolutely adored by President Trump, that operates under Hammurabi’s Code, is Russia. In Russia, a tiny fraction of 1% of the population own almost all the capital and all the land, the average Russian gets three hots and a cot and pretty much nothing else, and anyone who complains, gets treated like a slave and is either beaten or killed. Hammurabi’s Code is designed to serve the 1% at the expense of everyone else. Republicans mistakenly believe that if they win their war against democracy, they will go back to freedom and justice for all white Christian people along with those nonwhites who acknowledge the perceived birth right of white Christians. Once democracy is lost, it’s nearly impossible to get back. How difficult do you think it would be for the Russians to regain the democracy they had for a fleeting moment, and they are all white? For all practical purposes, all but the Superiors are slaves under Hammurabi’s Code.
Here’s what we need to think about going forward. Don’t think of white Nationalism as being the pernicious concept we traditionally think it to be. What Republicans actually mean by white nationalism is respect for American values and traditions, no matter what race or color the American is. Ironically, they missed their opportunity to achieve that end with their treatment of black Americans in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Never in the history of humankind have a people tried harder to blend into American society than black people did in those years. We tried to look, dress, speak, talk and think like white people, even though many of those characteristics are more difficult for us for obvious reasons. In spite of our best efforts, the conservative elements of American society, especially the Republican Party for most of those years, managed to keep a disproportionately large number of us out of the mainstream of American society. So now we have the hip-hop subculture that rejects much of mainstream culture altogether. In today’s world, cultural gradients preventing minorities from entering the mainstream results in domestic terrorism. I’m sympathetic to Republican concerns of immigrants coming to America and not being willing to become American and adapted the language, dress code and social values of Americans. With proper immigration laws, we can make it more attractive and practical for those immigrating to the country to do just that. But we first must effectively address our role in creating the chaos on our southern border. The main source of the chaos is our failure to effectively deal with the multibillion-dollar illegal drug market in our country, which fuels and funds the gangster terrorists that are driving them up here. If there ever was a just cause for military intervention it is the need to assist local Central and South American governments in ending the drug gangs and cartels reign of terror on the indigent population. The military bases needed to carry out such operations will themselves boost the local economies and end their need to migrate north. Many of we anti-Trump people have implemented extremism in our action as well. For example, I think we may have gone to far with the Me Too movement. At some point we must accept that in the male dominant, sexist culture we live in, it’s very likely the every man in our society has at some point made a sexist remark or made some woman feel uncomfortable due to her sexuality, to some degree. While it is important to impress on men the such behavior will never be acceptable in the future, we need to be careful in how retroactive we will be in punishing men for relatively minor offenses in the past. While there can be no statue of limitations on rape and battery, we don’t want to destroy a man because he inappropriately propositioned a woman twenty years ago. To do so distracts us from keeping our focus on the real issues of equal rights and protection under the law for all women. It trivializes the problem and causes us to lose effective allies in the struggle, Al Franken being the best example of that. Whether we consider ourselves Republican or Democrat, conservative or progressive, we have to be willing to together do the real work of searching out the true causes of our difficulties, and not fall prey to reducing them to scapegoats or seeing if the issue or proposal passes some kind of arbitrary litmus test before rejecting it. This year we need to call a truce and find ways to sit down and talk to each other about how we can effectively address the issues of our time, with the understanding that neither side is going to be totally happy with the results. That’s called democracy. The alternative is war and Hammurabi’s Code for the winners and the losers.