I have been relying on the art of name-calling too frequently lately; but it’s hard not to, and I am sure many of you will agree with me. There isn’t much that can be done to relieve the sense of “everything is falling apart around us.” The America, the country half of us are still loyal to, still love and who traditions we still cherish, is being slowly, and methodically overthrown.
What can a president do if the local governments enact fascist, authoritarian policies? What good is a Congress controlled by Democrats, if they pass laws that openly rescind the right of Black Americans, and other minorities, to vote? Masked in President Biden’s outrage in his press conference on March 25th over the Georgia voting restrictions, there was an admission that “we really can’t do much about this.” The fascist coup from beneath rolls on.
Nevertheless, I want to stop calling the Republicans, the Trumpists, the Trump-sick, and the Foxified dummies. Calling them stupid no longer calms my nerves the way it did just two months ago. Stupid and whack jobs; and, I will make this my final rant about them — I will try at least, then I will direct my words at their policies; I will continue to harvest the past for clues to why today is the way it is. I will lay the past over the present like a translucent slide, and point out where what the past of extremist hate overlaps with what the Republics do today.
Cultural anthropologists like Clifford Geertz readily agree that symbols represent nothing if not given meaning by a given culture. For 240 years, the symbols, and traditions that fortified the framework for America was normally accepted by most of the country. Fifty states, each with its own cares and concerns, somehow found a common allegiance to a nation founded in 1776. It has been a really been a quite remarkable run when you think about it. There have been times, for sure, when agreement was hard to come by. Disagreements about just how the American experiment would be played out further even once devolved into a civil war. Nevertheless, our national compass somehow located a cultural north.
It should be noted, however, just because peace, accommodation, and a desire to keep working together was found, it did not mean all of the differences had been forgotten. Percolating always just beneath the surface were those cultural differences between north and south, east and west, mountain versus plane, urban versus rural, etc.
It is 2021, and we are now in the fifth year of our collapse. Arguably, half of America believes in the sickness manifested through Trumpism. As a middle-aged white man, I find it particularly upsetting that this is happening. I find it even more upsetting that the culprits of this disintegration are my peers. The men and women who look like me, who liked the same songs as I did in high school, who formerly used “the” before the word “prom” are destroying this nation. It is, as usual, being caused by the Baby boomers — probably even more so by them simply because there are more of them.
Almost exclusively, America’s decline, however, is being fed by the energy of white people — stupid white people. The time for saying they are economically forgotten, suffering, etc. is over. All of that is true but time after time, they vote in the very same politicians whose sole recipe for solving the economic problems we face is to make them worse — to give more wealth, and more power, to the 10% top earners.
How did we get to a place where so many of our fellow countrymen voluntarily choose to engage life refusing the God-given resources of cognition, and commonsense? Of late, many white people just seem to react like the ever-jittery deer munching some prime grass in the field. Boo, and these whites leap to their feet with guns drawn; banners ripple in the wind, lifted over head; and, voices whine about “woe is the plight of the white man in America.”
The “Contract with America,” created in 1994, mobilized the fear for a demographically-evolving America. Governing the changing color, and ethnicity, of America was not something that interested the Republicans. They wanted only to change the laws that governed America in order to justify their hold on power in a nation where fewer and fewer were aligned with their white-man values. When they couldn’t change the laws, they changed the courts; when that didn’t work, they openly restricted voting for Black Americans, who predominantly vote for Democrats.
They wanted to live in an America that is of their image — not unlike how God made man — and thanks to the evangelicals, and the war on abortion, their mission began to resemble a crusade. Crusades need armies so they ensured that guns in the public space, in the hands of their angry whites men, would be everywhere.
The Republican Party was not going to be the party of urban Black America; it was not going to be the party for queer America; it was not going to be the party for an America that didn’t make the gun one of the main pillars of American democracy; it was luring to its party Americans who did not want the government to create a foundation from which all citizens could strive to do their best — who cares about “all citizens.” It was attracting people who wanted government to protect a country where they were able to thrive. Anything that sought to strengthen a common good was socialism, in their view.
That calcification of the thought process began in that half of America began that year, in 1994. The way of life they were creating was given a voice, a history, a present and a future in 1996 when Fox News was launched. Fox News gave them the narrative. Prior to arrival of the Murdoch-Ailes creation taking to the airwaves, Americans might have believed in the infallibility of the Republican Party, but there was enough counter-media discussion to shoot holes in the more extremist notions.
Fox News ended such of possible “wrongs” in the GOP. Fox News fertilized the soil for the extremist thought. It also took “truth” and destroyed it with the opinions “experts.” The well-paid experts would explain in simple, often racist, and misogynistic terms, why the Fox-created thoughts were normal; and, why the reporting of the other media was extremist, and manipulative. These same experts sounded the bell of extremism against everything the Democrats tried to do. They It created a culture of the “pliable truth.”
In order to understand “pliable truth,” let’s take a look at Russia. Beginning in 1917, truth was relegated to serve political ends. The entire Russian history was rewritten by the Communists to justify the inevitable rise of communism; with each passing year, and as Stalin concentrated more power in his hands, the history of just a year ago would be erased; and then, rewritten to make Stalin look infallible. This process of historical recreation has been going on ever since. It goes on today. Many in Russia honestly believe that all roads of history led to the current president, Vladimir Putin. His presidency is a gift from evolution.
It took the election of a Black man that set us off onto the final, and seemingly, unstoppable path to our nation’s end. American racists just can’t accept the advancement of Black Americans; it’s personal to them. They resented the War on Poverty. The resented Affirmative Action. The popular rallying cry about how “unqualified Blacks kids” take the places of “qualified white kids” in universities can wake enlivens the most recalcitrant Trumpist.
The brilliance of the professorial-speaking Obama made them feel stupid. That feeling pissed them collectively off; it was the massive coalition of people of non-white Americans who voted for the first time, that led them to invent The Tea Party.
What was the original Boston Tea Party about? Taxation without representation, right? So why did they choose that name to call their movement? Because of the lies being fed to them 24/7 by the Republicans, and rightwing media, they came to believe that a Black president, elected by so many “gays and minorities” surely would never protect their interests. The ultimate, and final, culture war was launched based on the rapidly changing demographics which will have white, non-Hispanics in the minority in the next twenty-five years.
This fact scares the shit out them, folks. The good old boys, the militias up in Michigan are not going to just passively sit by and wait until their neighbors are a mixed-race lesbian couple with adopted children from China and Zaire.
The “white and stupid” movement ensures that the shrinking white majority will hold onto an overwhelming amount of political power at the local level. By preventing those likely not to vote for Republicans from being able to vote, the Republicans ensure that the “right of law” will be on their side. They also ensure that local bureaucracies almost always belong to them making it easier to the silence the opposition.
I don’t exaggerate when I say that in the next five or ten years, some parts of America will seem like armed camps with white, Republican-voting Americans armed to the teeth, patrolling for “whiteness and rightness;” and, everyone else being terrorized into acceptance of that white status quo. The fact that all of this behavior is the kind more likely to be seen in Russia, Hungary, or Sudan does not at cause any discomfort for the Republicans — if they are in power, then all is the way it is supposed to be.
Evolution Is On Our Side
Evolution weeds out the weak. Stupidity is a weakness in the evolutionary DNA that is not passed onto our progeny. Evolution, as Darwin showed, filters out all of the parts of the species that deny it further life. The molecules that then come to comprise the chain of information whips us up into the future, whittling away at those sharper, dumb edges.
COVID is a perfect example of this. How many Americans died because they stupidly followed the advice of Trump? How many lay on their deathbeds, unable to breathe, still feeling good about their decision to have never masked up? I know a few actually. Washed away in a few weeks time but proudly denying the existence of the virus that ended their lives way too early. How stupid — tragically, pitifully, selfishly — is that?
After January 6th, I declared a zero-tolerance policy for anyone casting doubts on the dark reality of that day. People not seeing what that day was, and how we got to it, are being eased out of the human race by evolution. It makes no sense to call them names, to abuse them, to offend them, because they are flawed; they are weakened in the long run. Unless they figure it out soon, the traces in the DNA chain that represent their kind of stupid will be unrecognizable in a generation or two.
I am a white man and I am not stupid. If we can’t change them now, let nature take of them for us.